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Comps keep it up through end of October, buoyed by Hurricane Sandy preparations

New York -- The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 1.6% in the fourth and final week of October following a 1.3% gain the prior week.

Month-to-date, October was up 1.6% compared to October of last year, relative to a target of a 1.9% gain. Month-over-month showed a 1.6% drop, relative to a target of a 1.4% drop.

Stores were reporting improved sales for the week, supported by Halloween shopping and stocking up ahead of Hurricane Sandy.

The hurricane helped certain retailers as customers made a run on food, water, batteries and other emergency supplies, ramping up business at stores which stock these kinds of staples, noted Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

"Discount stores were the main beneficiaries, and mostly ran ahead of plan over the week," she continued. "Looking forward, November is a four-week month on the retail calendar ending on November 24th and includes Halloween, Election Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. The main shopping event, Thanksgiving, falls in the final week of the month as it did last year, meaning there will be no calendar distortion."

As such, Johnson Redbook's preliminary target for November is for 2.1% year-over-year same-store sales growth, generating a month-to-month gain of a 0.6% gain - adding "this target may be revised in next week's report."

Stores report October sales tomorrow -- November 1st -- and Redbook will issue its usual Johnson Redbook Same-store Flash Report in the morning.

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