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Promotions Perk Same-Store Numbers

Helped by seasonal shopping and more promotional pricing as retailers clear shelves for the holidays, same-store retail sales perked up 2.9 percent during the second week of October, the Johnson Redbook reported.

The week gained slightly on the prior week, with its 2.8 percent increase, and put sales for the two weeks month-to-date modestly ahead of plan, up 2.9 percent, compared with a forecasted gain of 2.7 percent.

Discounter sales improved 3.8 percent, slightly ahead of their 3.7 percent gain the week before. But department store sales remained soft, rising 1.7 percent, improving on a 1.4 percent increase the preceding week.

“Seasonal shopping was the driver in the second week,” commented Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “Apparel sales may also have been stimulated by more promotional pricing as stores sought to shift goods ahead of the holiday season.”

Colder weather, Levis added, is “expected eventually to trigger seasonal demand for apparel inventory, and some retailers claim the process has already begun, as sales picked up into the weekend, especially in the North, where fall weather prevailed. Some sources noted they were also beginning to see early interest in Christmas-related items.”

Pulling in their horns a bit, and fretting that a soft economy may crimp holiday sales, “Some retailers more cautiously suggest, however, that projections will need to be shaved if consumer indicators like employment or income continue to grow more slowly. At the same time, some discounters noted the payroll cycle had again become evident in their business, with sales volume increasing on Friday, Oct. 15, when mid-month paychecks arrived, generally interpreted as a sign of consumer illiquidity.”

Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
Second week of October

WEEK ENDED 10/9 10/16 10/23 10/30 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 1.4 1.7 1.5 1.4
Discounters 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.7
Redbook Average 2.8 2.9 2.9 2.7


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