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Weather Takes Toll on Sales

With unseasonably cool weather throughout Northeastern states hampering sales of seasonal goods, same-store retail sales eased off during the fourth and final week of May, rising 2.9 percent, compared with a stronger gain of 3.4 percent the prior week, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

But even so, same-store sales for all of May still came in ahead of plan, helped by a solid performance at department stores, and rose 3.2 percent, besting a targeted 3 percent gain.

Providing a big boost, department store sales were strong throughout the month, rising 3 percent during the final week of May. For the entire month, department stores recorded a 3 percent gain, easily exceeding a target of 2.4 percent growth. Discounter sales lagged department stores during the closing week, rising at a more subdued pace of 2.8 percent. For all of May, discounter sales rose 3.4 percent, on target.

“During the week, some retailers claimed that unseasonably cool weather in the Northeast chilled sales of their seasonal goods, including hardlines as well as apparel. Apparel sold better in regions where temperatures were warm, like the West Coast and southern regions,” according to Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis.

The analyst noted that June is a five-week month ending July 2, and includes two shopping events, Memorial Day and Father's Day. Levis set a preliminary target for June of year-over-year same-store sales growth of 2.8 percent.

Johnson Redbook Index
Fourth week of May

Week ended 5/7 5/14 5/21 5/28 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.9 3.0 3.1 3.0 3.0 2.4
Discounters 3.5 3.5 3.7 2.8 3.4 3.4
Redbook Average 3.2 3.3 3.4 2.9 3.2 3.0


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