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January comp sales in negative mode  

Week ended 1/10 1/17 1/24 1/31 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -9.1   -9.1 -9.0
Discounters 2.1   2.1 2.3
Redbook Index -1.9 -1.9 -1.8

New York – Comp-store sales in the first week of the January retail month lagged just behind the negative goal for the month, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

Discounters fell short of the 2.3% comp gain target, while department stores fell shy of the quite negative 9.0% goal. The final fiscal month for most retailers, January has a year-over-year comp target of negative 1.8%, and a month-over-month goal of a 2.2% drop from December.

“Clearance will be the key theme in January, with most retailers planning to flow in new spring merchandise from about the middle of the month. Promotional clearance and price discounting, especially by stores with large stocks of unsold holiday goods, are expected to cut into profit margins,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

“Retailers said traffic slowed somewhat,” she observed, but added, “Retailers noted that consumers were motivated by prices as January clearance sales got under way, and stores posted markdowns to move seasonal inventories.”

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