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Same-stores sales up 3.5 percent

NEW YORK — Same-store sales backed off modestly moving into the third week of November, the Johnson Redbook reported, advancing 3.5 percent, following stronger gains of 3.6 and 3.7 percent during the two preceding weeks.

For the three weeks month-to-date, sales were still modestly ahead of plan, climbing 3.6 percent, compared with a targeted gain of 3.5 percent.

"Sales eased slightly compared to the previous period," said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. "However, conditions remained mixed, with performance mostly ranging from on-plan to slightly below. Some stores expressed disappointment, saying the week had been slower than the previous one and had thwarted expectations for a steady volume escalation into Thanksgiving."

And as they have in the past, customers may be waiting until the last minute to stuff the stocking, said Levis . "Stores told Redbook that the consumer's need to purchase holiday gifts is not yet urgent because of the additional two days of shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Customers are waiting as long as possible to make their holiday purchases. The day after Thanksgiving remains the biggest shopping day of the year, and many retailers are planning to open their doors early to placate shoppers."

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