Cool weather heats up October sales
October 29, 2001,
New York — Cooling autumn weather helped to drive a pick-up in retail sales during the second week of October, according to the widely watched Redbook Retail Sales Average. Discounters reported a strong 5.4 percent increase in sales, and even department stores showed some improvement — sales still down, but not as far as before.
Given the above-plan sales during the second week of the month, the Redbook Average of overall sales ticked up by 1.4 percent through the first two weeks of the month, hitting the monthly target.
Levis said the stronger results for the first two weeks of the month "broke a string of below-par numbers and led retailers to express guarded optimism for the remaining two weeks of October." Some retailers, she added, noted that midweek strength had continued throughout the weekend, laying a base for positive numbers going forward through the balance of the month.
Department stores, said Levis, "continue to cut expenses and trim inventories. They are also starting to add more low-price goods and reduce merchandise markups to attract price-conscious consumers."
The main merchandise themes in October, Levis noted, "include mid-fall seasonal apparel, Halloween, winter sports and early holiday shopping. Merchants said that sales in these areas were starting to build. Elsewhere, the focus continued to be on consumer staples and household basics."
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