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Sales Meet Expectations

Helped by a sturdy, if not especially strong, Labor Day holiday event, same-store retail sales advanced 3 percent over year-before levels during the second week of September, in line with expectations, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

“Retailers said the holiday, while positive, was in line with expectations but did not particularly exceed forecasts,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. Retailers' plans for the month, she noted, “are not especially ambitious.” Business, Levis added, “tailed off sharply in the middle of the week, only to build up again into the weekend.”

Building on recent strength, sales at the nation's department stores improved 1.8 percent, gaining on a 1.5 percent rise the preceding week. For the two weeks month-to-date, department store sales are running sharply ahead of plan, up 1.7 percent, compared with a targeted gain of 1.2 percent.

“The strength at department stores suggested consumers were focusing on higher-priced seasonal apparel, while the discount stores in our model generally reported strong activity in other merchandise categories such as food, household supplies, electronics and school supplies,” said Levis.

Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
Second Week of September

Week ended 9/4 9/11 9/18 9/25 10/2 month target
* Including chain stores and traditional department stores. Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 1.5 1.8 1.7 1.2
Discounters 3.8 3.9 3.9 3.8
Redbook Index 2.9 3.0 3.0 2.8

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