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Comps up but below plan in Week 1 of December as holiday season progresses

Comps up but below plan in Week 1 of December as holiday season progresses

New York -- The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 2.1% in the first week of December.

Month-to-date, December was up 2.1% compared to December of last year, relative to a target of a 2.6% gain. Month-over-month showed a 0.3% drop, relative to a target of a 0.2% gain.

December is a five-week month on the retail calendar, ending on December 29th.

The first week fell short of plan.

Redbook analyst Catlin Levis explained retailers described the week as "a lull that began the weekend after a hectic, for some, post Thanksgiving surge, but noted that the pause was typical of the first week of December and would likely be followed by an equally predictable steady buildup towards Hanukkah and Christmas."

The Hanukkah celebration falls on the 8th of December, which is 10 days earlier this year than last year on the retail calendar, which will provide some holiday related shopping momentum, she continued.

"December is a lopsided month, with a disproportionate volume of sales delivered in the week before Christmas," Levis added. "This pattern has intensified as customers have continued to shop at the last minute in order to exploit merchant markdowns."

Meanwhile, most retailers following the NRF 4-5-4 retail calendar will have two extra pre-Christmas shopping days this December versus last year, which is expected to have an appreciable positive impact.

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