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Early sales of spring merch aided comps

New York - Same-store sales rose 2.0% in the fourth and final week of January following a 2.5% gain in the previous week, according to The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

Year-over-year, January was up 2.7% - falling just shy of Redbook's target for a 2.9% monthly gain. Month-over-month showed a 1.8% drop compared to December, relative to a target of a 1.6% drop.

Sales were slightly below plan for the month. However, unseasonably warm weather in some parts of the country spurred demand for spring merchandise, said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

"Stores saw brisk turnover in spring apparel and other seasonal goods," noted Levis. "Business was also helped by stepped up markdowns and other promotional events built around spring launches."

Looking ahead, February contains two major selling events: Valentine's Day and President's Day. Redbook's preliminary target is for year-over-year comp growth of 2.8%, which would generate a month-over-month change versus January of a 1.5% gain.

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