Discounters rescue July comps 

Week ended 7/12 7/19 7/26 8/2 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -0.6  -1.2  -1.4  -1.2 -1.1 -0.4
Discounters 4.7  4.8  5.4  6.1 5.3 4.9
Redbook Index 2.7  2.6  2.9  3.5 2.9 2.9

New York – While department store operators finished July lagging comparative-store sales goals, discounters ramped up comps each week and finished well ahead – resulting in an overall on-target retail month, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 3.5% in the fourth and final week of July, resulting in a 2.9% comp gain for the month. The comp gain by discounters was a sturdy 5.3% rise – while department store comps fell 1.1%.

July comps were 1.4% above June, also on goal.

“Closing out the month and the second quarter, some retailers reported a firmer tone in sales toward the weekend, especially in apparel and school-related purchases, which they attributed to the beginning of back-to-school demand and shoppers taking advantage of sales tax breaks which some states had in effect since Friday,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

“Merchants reported that the tax-free holidays drew more store traffic than on a normal weekend in states including: Alabama, District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia,” Levis noted.

August is a four-week retail month ending Aug. 30. “Our preliminary target for August is for 2.8% same-store growth, leaving the month about 0.6% behind July,” Levis said.

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