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Early August Comps Look Decent

Tax holidays and some early back-to-school shopping gave sales a lift during the first week of August. The Johnson Redbook Index posting an aggregate comp of 2.3% for the week ended Aug. 11, slightly ahead of the 2.1% target.

"Sales were helped modestly by the back-to-school state tax holiday in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia," Redbook reported.

Redbook concluded that back-to-school sales have not yet had a significant impact, but are expected to grow as the month continues. Elsewhere, activity was sustained by non-seasonal categories, including consumer basics and household goods, Redbook reported.

"For August, some retailers will have a negative effect on the calendar shift, thereby bolstering July sales and dragging down August sales," the survey noted. On a month-over-month basis, comps so far a relatively flat — down by 0.6%.

For the week, both department stores and discounters exceeded their targets. Department stores eked a target comp gain of 0.3% with a 0.5% performance. Discounters rang up a comp gain of 3.5%, ahead of the targeted 3.2%.

Johnson Redbook Index
First week of August, year-over-year % change

Week ended 8/11 8/18 8/25 9/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 0.5 0.5 0.3
Discounters 3.5 3.5 3.2
Redbook Average 2.3 2.3 2.1


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