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Comps made the grade last week

New York - Sales picked up the pace in the third week of August, raising comps 3.8% following a 3.4% gain the prior week, according to the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

Same-store sales were up 4.5% in the discount channel and 2.5% in the department store segment.

Month-to-date, August was up 3.7% compared to August of last year, relative to a target of a 3.9% gain. Month-over-month showed a 0.3% gain, relative to a target of a 0.5% gain.

Back-to-school sales gained traction as more schools began their terms, or approached the beginning of the school year, explained Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

"People are positioning their purchases closer to the time of actual need as many students want to see what other students are wearing before purchasing clothing," she continued. "At this point in their calendars, most retailers are seeing business generally balanced between summer clearance, back-to-school and fall buying, although clearance activity is expected to decline rapidly over the next few weeks. Many companies' margins are getting pinched as the companies slash prices to lure in customers."

Levis added that it is still too early to assess the health of back-to-school and other seasonal business.


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