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Retail sales cool in late June warm-up

After picking up steam and building momentum through the first three week of June, same-store retail sales cooled off somewhat during the fourth week of the month, improving by 1.0 percent, but far off the stronger pace of 1.8 percent growth the week before, the Redbook Retail Sales Average reported.

For the four weeks month-to-date, sales had risen by 1.4 percent from year-before levels, slightly behind targeted growth of 1.5 percent.

"The week's performance was slower than the previous week," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Despite an improvement in seasonal merchandise classifications as warm weather rolled in, overall sales activity was toward the low end of plan for many of our surveyed stores."

Giving sales a much-needed lift was warmer, drier weather across much of the country, Levis added. "Several discounters told us the pickup was attributed to the summer heat, which in turn promoted customer traffic for warm weather apparel. The East Coast did particularly well during the week after one of the wettest springs on record."

Breaking results out by category, Levis said, "Retailers reported weakness in merchandise markets such as menswear and jewelry, while discounters reported more emphasis on food, hardware, household basics and consumables."

Running true to form, discounters outperformed their full-price department store rivals, Discounter sales grew by 2.7 percent during the week, while department stores declined by 1.7 percent.

With department store sales still under heavy pressure in a long consumer spending pullback, Levis noted, "May Department Stores downsized 1,500 workers to keep expenses in line with sales, they said."

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Fourth week of June

Week ended 6/7 6/14 6/21 6/28 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department stores* -1.1 -0.9 -0.1 -1.7 -1.0 -0.6
Discounters 2.6 2.7 3.0 2.7 2.6 2.8
Redbook Average 1.2 1.3 1.8 1.0 1.4 1.5


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