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Chilly Weather Cools Sales

Hampered in part by unseasonably warm weather, which put a damper on sales of winter-weather merchandise, same-store retail sales were muted during the final week of September, edging up 2.2 percent, well beneath the 2.9 percent recorded the prior week, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Given the soft finish to the month, sales for all of September came in slightly beneath plan, rising 2.7 percent, shy of a targeted gain of 2.8 percent.

“September's softness was in part due to weather, hurricanes, as well as persistent warm weather, which kept shoppers away from fall goods,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis.

“On the other hand, the weather was grounds for optimism going into October, as cooler weather should boost sales. This is good news for department stores, many of which have had two lackluster months in a row.” Discount stores, she added, which rely more on sales of consumables, “have typically done far better and remained on or close to their sales targets.”

Looking ahead to October sales events, Levis noted, “Columbus Day in the second week matches the timing of the year-ago holiday and presents no comparison issues. Halloween is more significant. This increasingly popular event is two days later this year, and could push some related business into November, weakening October relative to last year.”

Levis said the preliminary Redbook target forecasts same-store growth of 2.4 percent over last October.

Johnson Redbook Sales Index
Fifth Week of September

WEEK ENDED 9/4 9/11 9/18 9/26 10/2 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Dept. stores* 1.5 1.8 0.8 0.7 0.5 1.1 1.2
Discounters 3.8 3.9 3.8 4.5 3.3 3.9 3.8
Redbook Index 2.9 3.0 2.6 2.9 2.2 2.7 2.8

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