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Redbook average stays slightly ahead of plan

New York — With home-related goods still hitting a home run and stores clearing out excess inventory in a post-holiday mode, same-store retail sales improved modestly during the third week of January and remained somewhat ahead of plan, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.

Sales for a broad cross-section of American retailers advanced by 1.5 percent over year-before levels, slightly ahead of the 1.4 percent increase recorded the prior week.

Home-related goods "continue to be driven by a strong housing market and several retailers again reported last week that it was a standout," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

For the three weeks month-to-date, the Redbook Average, lifted by continued strength at discounters, climbed by 1.6 percent, modestly ahead of a targeted gain of 1.5 percent. Predictably and routinely, all of the gains came out of the nation's mass merchants, up 4.9 percent, while department stores continued to lag, sales dropping off by 3.6 percent, failing even to hit the target of a 2.7 percent decline.

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