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Same-store sales swing up in May

New York -- Launching something of a comeback after a decidedly weak April, one of retailing's worst months in recent memory, same-store retail sales ticked up by 2.7% during the first week of May, breezing past their target of a 2.3% gain.

Helped by warmer weather and Mother's Day sales, both department stores and discounters came out ahead of plan, the Johnson Redbook Index reported. Discounter sales improved by 3.1%, ahead of a targeted gain of 2.8%. Department-store comps increased by 2.0%, easily besting a target of a 1.6% gain.

May comps tracked 2.5% above April, vs. a target of 2.7%.

Redbook analyst Catlin Levis said seasonal goods sold well, adding, "The impact of Mother's Day was boosted by the calendar, as retailers found themselves on the positive side of the shift in the timing of the event, just as they will on the negative side next week."

Mother's Day, Levis noted, "fell a week earlier this year than last year, making comparisons easier in the first week of May," but making it all the tougher for the second week of the month. "Sales reflected the Mother's Day business as well as school graduations, with sales such as apparel, flowers, cards, small appliances, and jewelry."

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