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Discounters' sales best department stores

NEW YORK — Helped by cooler weather and stronger bedding sales, same-store retail sales ticked up 2.9 percent during the fourth week of September, improving modestly on a 2.6 percent increase the week before, the Johnson Redbook reported.

Extending a trend line begun the week before, the gap widened between retail channels, with department stores falling further behind and discounters holding up better on their broader merchandise bases.

Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis said discounters continued to do "reasonable business in food and household basics, which were boosted somewhat by shoppers in the Southeast stocking up ahead of Hurricane Jeanne and also rebuilding after previous hurricanes."

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