Retail Sales Steady for July

Helped by the start of summer clearance sales and a heat wave that spurred demand for hot-weather merchandise, same-store retail sales improved 4.2 percent during the second week of July, on a par with the week before, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Sales for the two weeks month-to-date were slightly beneath a targeted gain of 4.3 percent.

“The week's results varied across retailers' categories, with a pickup in discount store sales compensating for a slight pull back at department stores,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. Discounter sales were up 5.3 percent, building on a 5.1 percent increase the prior week. But department store sales came in light at 2.6 percent, off from a 2.9 percent increase the week before.

Discounters came in modestly ahead of plan for the week, said Levis, doing their best business in consumer staples like food and in seasonal hard goods.

Levis noted, “Typical of clearance-oriented July, business is expected to be somewhat volatile in this transitional month, reflecting both promotional calendars and the availability of seasonal merchandise.

“As heat waves in the West spread further Midwest, retailers reported strong demand for remaining hot-weather items such as fans, air conditioners and water goods. Seasonal apparel was also moving, especially in the children's and women's categories,” she added.

Johnson Redbook Index
Second week of July

Week ended 7/9 7/16 7/23 7/30 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.9 2.6 2.8 3.0
Discounters 5.1 5.3 4.2 4.2
Redbook Average 4.2 4.2 4.2 4.3

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