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August Comps off to a Lackluster Start

With stores still transitioning from summer clearance sales into back-to-school season, same-store sales for the first week of August declined 4.2% from the same period last year, the Johnson Redbook reported last week.

Department stores, which Redbook expects will report a 6.4% drop in comps for the month, did slightly better than target during the first selling week, with a drop in comps of 6.2%. Discounters performed on target with a 3.1% decline.

“The full impact of back-to-school will not be seen until later this month, or early September, it remains too early to assess the trend,” said Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.

“Summer clearances are generally being priced less aggressively than usual as better control left leaner inventories for clearance. Sales were helped by back-to-school tax holidays in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia,” she said.

Johnson Redbook Index
First Week of August, year-over-year % change

Week Ended 8/8 8/15 8/22 8/29 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 6.2 -6.2 -6.4
Discounters -3.1 -3.1 -3.1
Redbook Index -4.2 -4.2 -4.3

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