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Same-store sales reach target

Helped by good weather across much of the nation and sales of seasonal merchandise, same-store retail sales came in modestly ahead of plan during the first week of May, rising 4.7 percent from year-ago levels, according to the Johnson Redbook Index.

Boosted by the sales of summer merchandise — including electronics and toys — sales bested a target of 4.6 percent growth, said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales during the first week of May were 0.7 percent above April numbers, compared with a targeted 0.6 percent increase.

Once again showing signs of bounding back after two years of declines, department stores came in ahead of plan, climbing 2.5 percent and besting a target of 2.3 percent growth. Mass merchants met their plan with a 6.1 percent same-store sales increase.

"Most stores in our model reported sales which met, or slightly exceeded, plan for the week," Levis reported. "Business in Mother's Day items such as flowers, jewelry, apparel, cosmetics and small appliances, while brisk, did not actually boost annual growth rates since the event occurred at the same time last year."

Rather, said Levis, it was favorable weather which triggered the week's sales gain. "Seasonable weather across much of the country helped drive stores' sales of electronics, children's apparel, toys and other seasonal items."

Looking ahead throughout the month, Levis noted that summer sales typically peak in May before clearance starts in June. Several retailers planned for the second half of May to be softer than the first," hampered by a shift in the calendar for the Memorial Day holiday. Holiday sales fell into fiscal May last year, but will shift into fiscal June this year," Levis observed.

Breaking results out on a regional basis, "Business was well distributed across the country," Levis said, "although some retailers noted that sales were strongest in the West, followed by the Eastern states."

Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
First week of May

Week ended 5/8 5/15 5/22 5/29 Month Target
Department stores* 2.5 2.5 2.3
Discounters 6.1 6.1 6.1
Redbook Average 4.7 4.7 4.6
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index


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