Sales Inch Above Expectations
September 13, 2004,
Helped by the run-up to the long Labor Day weekend, same-store retail sales picked up 2.9 percent during the first week of September, slightly ahead of retailers' expectations and a forecasted gain of 2.8 percent, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.
Despite the shutdown of some Florida stores as Hurricane Frances hung for days over much of the state, both Sunday and Monday — following the Sept. 4 end of the week — “turned out to be big shopping days” around most of the nation, said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis.
“The week's results were largely in line with what retailers were expecting,” said Levis. “Sales picked up in the days leading up to the Labor Day weekend, and over the weekend itself.”
Discounters registered strong food sales ahead of the weekend, and sales in the mass channel climbed an on-target 3.8 percent, Levis reported. As they have in recent weeks, department stores exceeded plan, with a 1.5 percent same-store sales gain topping a target of 1.2 percent.
“Some retailers are nearing the end of their back-to-school calendars, while others expect its impetus to last through the month, thus reflecting in sales of children's clothing, school supplies and selected hard goods,” said Levis. “Higher-end women's clothing was considered by many to be the best all-around performer.”
Helping retailers with significant exposure in New York state was a sales-tax moratorium that boosted local business from Aug. 31 through Sept. 6. But that local bump up is “unlikely to significantly affect September's results when averaged across all regions and all weeks,” said Levis. “Sales in New York City, on the other hand, were slower than usual due to the Republican National Convention security barricades.”
Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
First week of September
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores Source: Johnson Redbook Index