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December comps slip further behind   

Week ended 12/6 12/13 12/20 12/27 1/3 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -9.7  -10.1 -9.9 -8.6
Discounters 5.7 5.0   5.3 7.2
Redbook Index -0.8 -1.4 -1.1 0.6

New York – Food and other essentials were consumers’ leading buys in the second week of December as retailers’ comparable store sales pace continued to slacken, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index fell 1.4% for the week, dragging the month-to-date reading to negative 1.1%. This was well short of the targeted gain of 0.6%.

“Merchandise drivers continued to be strongest in food and consumer basics rather than in clothing,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

The comp pace was 0.7% below November, vs. the goal of a 1.0% gain. Both discounters and department store operators slipped further behind plan.

“Customer traffic remained slow; an early December lull was factored into most sales plans for the month, so retailers continued to sit out the pre-Christmas wait. Some retailers reported that heavy snow and wet weather in parts of the South also disrupted business,” Levis said. “Procrastinating shoppers have two more weeks in order to complete their holiday shopping. Meanwhile, Hanukkah begins on the 21st, later than last year and should help some holiday sales next week.”

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