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November Comps Steam Ahead

Retailers continued to rally, sending comparable stores sales up 2.7% in the third week of November, and pushing the month-to-date measure up 2.4%, just ahead of the 2.3% goal, the Johnson Redbook reported.

Both discounters and department store operators registered a strong performance, setting comps just above their targets at this point.

Month-over-month the gain was 0.4% above October vs. a target of 0.3%. November is a four-week month on the retail calendar.

"The week ended on a stronger note than it began," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Food, special promotions and extended shopping hours drew in customers. Apparel and accessories did well as cooler weather awakened consumer interest in seasonal fall merchandise such as cashmeres, cold weather accessories, footwear and outerwear."

"Stores were relying on markdowns to drive traffic causing gross margins to be pressured in this promotional environment. Most stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day but made up for it with the traditional post holiday rush on Black Friday and over the weekend," she added.

Looking ahead, Levis noted, "With Hanukkah falling sooner this year, many retailers saw sales intensify as the holiday season approached."

Johnson Redbook Index
Third Week of November, year-to-year % change

Week ended 11/10 11/17 11/24 12/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 3.3 3.0 3.4 3.2 3.1
Discounters 1.8 1.7 2.3 1.9 1.8
Redbook Index 2.4 2.2 2.7 2.4 2.3

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