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January Sales Warm Up

New York — With consumers still flocking to the malls to cash in their gift cards or buy into post-Christmas clearance sales, same-store retail sales came in modestly ahead of expectations during the third week of January, perking up by 3.6 percent, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Measured on a three-week, month-over-month basis, sales were up 3.3 percent, compared with January 2005, beating a target of a 3.1 percent.

Several factors were pointed out by Redbook analyst Catlin Levis, including:

  • Warmer weather across parts of the country encouraged shoppers to purchase spring merchandise at full price.

  • Some merchants claimed to notice a stronger tone during the Martin Luther King weekend.

  • At discount stores, beverages and food were the week's top seller, in part due to college bowl games and the NFL playoffs.

Stacked up against the preceding month, December, sales were off by 0.4 percent, but still beat a targeted decline of 0.6 percent decline.

“Most retailers said sales for the week were satisfactory, and indicated they were trending on or slightly ahead of plan month-to-date,” Levis said. “Some merchants claimed to notice a stronger tone during the Martin Luther King weekend.”

She added, “Retailers said that average purchases remained relatively high as consumers continued to be drawn to stores by post-holiday sales and gift-card redemptions.”

Levis added, “As most retailers enter the final week of the fiscal year, inventories are reported to be clean, easing the transition of spring merchandise.”

Stockpiles remained in line.

Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of January, year over year % change

Week ended 1/7 1/14 1/21 1/28 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 1.7 1.8 2.0 1.8 1.6
Discounters 4.1 3.8 4.6 4.2 4.0
Redbook Average 3.2 3.1 3.6 3.3 3.1


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