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Redbook: Comps grew 3.7% last week

New York - The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 3.7% in the third week of November following a 3.3% gain the prior week.

Month-to-date, November comps rose 3.3% compared to November of last year. The target for the full month is a 4.1% gain. Month-over-month showed a 1.7% increase compared to October, relative to a target of a 2.4% gain.

The pace of sales picked up as the week progressed and retailers began offering pre-Thanksgiving week specials, said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

"Retailers noticed shoppers holding off gift shopping and waiting for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday deep promotions," she said. "As the holiday season gets underway in earnest, the two days following Thanksgiving typically represent the busiest period of the entire year. The week is critical in terms of providing a clearer view of the season ahead."

Many retailers are extending store hours on Thanksgiving in order to draw in shoppers. Gross margins should continue to be pressured by rising costs and increased markdowns in a highly promotional environment, Levis added.

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