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Discounters Drive August Gains

While their upstairs counterparts continued to struggle, the discounters scored steadily improving same-store sales increases for the third week running, the Johnson Redbook reported.

The Redbook Index recorded comps up 1.9% overall in the third week of August — with discounters contributing a stout 5.3% gain.

Month-to-date, August was up 1.5% over last year, vs. the 1.6% target. Month-over-month was 1.8% below July, in-line with the goal.

"Back-to-school sales were active over the past week as school years began or neared," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "The shift in buying patterns favored electronics such as laptops and cell phones which showed strength as traditional back-to-school clothing categories underperformed."

Levis added, "Retailers are driving sales through price reductions, putting pressure on profit margins. Consumers continued to focus on basic consumables such as food and household supplies. Meanwhile, tropical storm Fay disrupted business in Florida."

Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of August year-over-year % change

Week ended 8/9 8/16 8/23 8/30 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -3.4 -4.1 -3.8 -3.8 -2.2
Discounters 4.4 4.5 5.3 4.7 3.9
Redbook Average 1.5 1.3 1.9 1.5 1.6

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