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Home continues to drive retail gains

With cooler weather across the nation spurring demand for winter clothing — and home-related goods still going strong — same-store retail sales moved up by 0.7 percent during the third week of October, compared with the same week the year before, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.

Sales cooled off somewhat from the faster pace of the week before, when they rose by 1.4 percent, but even so remained strong, said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

For the three weeks month-to-date, sales were up by 1.4 percent from September, easily besting a target of a 0.6 percent gain. Compared with October 2001, month-to-date sales increased by 0.9 percent, sailing past a target of a 0.1 percent increase.

Though sales pulled back somewhat during the third week of the month, "the tone of business remains firm and October continues to outpace September," Levis said.

"Retailers said demand for seasonal clothing continued along with cooler weather, boosting both traffic and average sale tickets," said Levis.

However, "Some retailers noted that consumers showed a lack of interest in fall fashions as stores reported improvements in men's wear and children's wear, but not women's wear," she added.

Home furnishings sales remained strong, and have held up through most of the year despite softness in other categories. "Strength in home-related goods...reflected continuing activity in housing markets."

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Third week of October

Week ended 10/12 10/19 10/26 11/2 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department stores* -3.6 -1.4 -2.8 -2.6 -3.9
Discounters 3.0 3.3 3.0 3.1 2.6
Redbook Average 0.4 1.4 0.7 0.9 0.1


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