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Cool Weather Heats Up Sales

New York — Helped by colder weather and a stepped-up demand for seasonal goods, same-store retail sales perked up 3.6 percent during the third week of October, helping sales so far during the month to edge slightly ahead of plan, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

For the month, sales improved 3.5 percent, topping a target of 3.4 percent.

“Our sample continued slightly ahead of plan in October,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “The strength during the week was largely due to a surge in soft-line sales, especially apparel, as cooler temperatures unleashed a bout of consumer demand for seasonal goods.”

The analyst noted, “Some department store retailers said sales growth was being driven by clearance, rather than by full-price merchandise, while discount stores started to cut prices on Halloween-related merchandise earlier than usual in order to lure shoppers to other higher-margin products.”

Overall, said Levis, discount stores outperformed department stores during the week, helped by their more diversified merchandise base. “Activity at these discounters was focused on consumer staples such as food, pharmaceuticals and household goods, categories which are not typically sold by department stores.”

A shift in the calendar and the timing of Halloween, said Levis, could have a negative impact on October results. “This year's Halloween falls one day later than last year, a timing shift which could push some Halloween business out of October and into November.”

Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of October

WEEK ENDED 10/8 10/15 10/22 10/29 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.4 3.2 2.9 2.8 2.7
Discounters 3.8 4.0 4.0 3.9 3.9
Redbook Index 3.2 3.7 3.6 3.5 3.4


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