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October Not Scary for Retailers

Washington — Helped by the Halloween holiday, as well as colder weather that drove bedding and apparel spending, same-store sales climbed strongly, rising 4.5 percent during the fourth week of October, easily beating plan and helping the entire month to best its target, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Driven by the strong finish, sales for all of October improved 3.8 percent, ahead of a targeted gain of 3.4 percent.

“Stores were reporting improved sales for the week supported by cooler weather and Halloween shopping,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “Sales of women’s wear, children’s wear and bedding did improve over the prior three weeks. This uptrend helped to build momentum going into November.”

Recording their strongest gain of the month, department stores pushed sales up 3.5 percent during the closing week, beating the 2.9 percent increase the week before. For the four weeks month-to-date, sales at department stores increased 3 percent, ahead of a target of 2.7 percent.

Discounters set a blistering sales pace during the final week, with same-store sales rising 5.2 percent, racing past the 4 percent gain of the preceding week. For the entire month, discounter sales rose 4.3 percent, surpassing a target of 3.9 percent.

Levis said, “The Southeast was still up after suffering from hurricanes despite both water and power failure forcing some Florida retailers to close following Hurricane Wilma.”

Johnson Redbook Index
Fourth week of October

WEEK ENDED 10/8 10/15 10/22 10/29 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.4 3.2 2.9 3.5 3.0 2.7
Discounters 3.8 4.0 4.0 5.2 4.3 3.9
Redbook Index 3.2 3.7 3.6 4.5 3.8 3.4


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