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Redbook: same-store sales up 3.7 percent

NEW YORK — Fueled by a widely anticipated eleventh-hour surge as shoppers flocked to the malls in pursuit of last-minute promotions, same-store retail sales shot up by 3.7 percent during the fourth week of December.

But it wasn't enough to pull the month out of the doldrums, and sales still came up short of their target. For the four weeks month to date, sales increased by 3.7 percent, just missing a targeted goal of 3.8 percent.

True to form in the run-up to the holiday, cost-conscious consumers made a bee-line for the nation’s discounters, leaving department stores a perennial runner-up. Discounter sales for the four weeks climbed by 4.2 percent compared with a softer 3.0 percent for department stores. Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales were unchanged, compared with November, missing a small targeted gain of 0.1 percent.

According to Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis, retailers reported that most of the business was done on Dec. 23, and suggested that consumers had not used the “extra” pre-Christmas shopping day to pack in more shopping.

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