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Home drives retail sales closer to target for July

New York — Helped by strong sales of home goods, same-store retail sales picked up by 2.6 percent over year-ago levels during the second week of July, a marked improvement over a slender 1.5 percent increase the previous week, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.

But even with the lift, month-to-date sales were still short of their target, moving up by 2.1 percent, shy of a targeted gain of 2.4 percent, stuck in the summer doldrums and hampered by consumer apathy in the wake of a falling stock market and mounting corporate bad news.

Discounter same-store sales were up by 4.8 percent over year-before levels during the first two weeks of July, well short of a targeted increase of 5.6 percent. But department store same-store sales, while still trending down, did modestly better than expected. Sales at the full-price retailers lipped by 2.6 percent, not quite as far as an expected drop of 2.9 percent for the two-week period.

Measured against June results, sales for the two week period slipped by 0.3 percent, compared with a forecast increase of 0.3 percent.

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