Sun spurs same-store sales

NEW YORK — With warmer weather settling in across much of the country driving demand for seasonal merchandise, same-store retail sales picked up steam during the third week of July, recovering from some softness during the first two weeks of the month, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Sales improved 3.5 percent over year-ago levels, following gains of 2.8 percent and 2.6 percent the two previous weeks. For the three weeks month-to-date, sales are now running ahead of plan, up 3 percent versus a forecast gain of 2.6 percent.

Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales are down 0.3 percent from June levels, ahead of a targeted decline of 0.7 percent.

"Business appeared to be firmer for the week," said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. "Several retailers are now expecting to end the month ahead of plan. The heat wave as well as precipitation has brought customers into stores and has driven demand for remaining inventory of hot weather items."

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