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Comps hit goal for February

Fourth week of February  year-over-year % change

Week ended 2/6 2/13 2/20 2/27 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 0.0  -0.6 -0.2 -0.8 -0.4 0.0
Discounters 3.0 3.1 3.0 2.8 3.0 2.8
Redbook Index 2.0 1.8 1.9 1.5 1.8 1.8

New York – Fighting major winter storms in the Northeast but seeing the first signs of spring shopping elsewhere, retailers posted mixed comp store results in the fourth and final week of February.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 1.5%, following a 1.9% gain the prior week. For the month, February comps were up 1.8%, in line with the target over February 2009. The Feb. 2010 gain of 1.6% over January was also on goal.

“Retailers noted relative weakness due to the massive winter storms which hit primarily in the Northeast region,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. “Elsewhere, retailers are optimistic to see that early business in spring apparel is moving at full price as are other seasonal categories, primarily in the warmer parts of the country. Some cited that private label apparel is performing well.”

“Looking forward,” Levis noted, “March sales growth will be benefited by the earlier Easter…one week earlier this year than last year, pushing the bulk of holiday sales into March rather than April. March is a five-week month on the retail calendar, ending on April 3.”

The preliminary Redbook Index target for March is a 2.6% comp gain, “which could result in a 0.2% gain over February,” she said.

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