Memorial Day Spurs Sales

With the nation's department stores getting a lift from strong Memorial Day sales, which offset some weakness at mass merchants, same-store retail sales came in modestly ahead of plan during the first week of June, rising 3.3 percent and besting a target of 3.2 percent growth.

“Sales performance was somewhat mixed for the week,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “The latest week's sales, which included the Sunday and Monday of the Memorial Day weekend promotions, helped department stores, which met or exceeded plan, while discounters fell slightly behind plan.”

Same-store sales in full-price department stores climbed 2.8 percent, easily exceeding targeted growth of 2.4 percent. But discounters missed their target during the week, with sales rising 3.6 percent, just shy of a targeted 3.7 percent increase.

Levis said, “Some retailers reported strength in merchandise related to school graduation such as women's wear, men's wear, footwear and women's accessories.” But on the downside, “unseasonably cold and rainy weather in the West and Midwest areas continued to be a factor in sales of spring and summer goods.”

The analyst noted, “June is the peak of seasonal business before July clearance sales and an important month to most retailers. Weather will be key in allowing stores to make sales before margin-cutting clearance.”

Johnson Redbook Index
First week of June

Week ended 6/4 6/11 6/18 6/26 7/2 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.8 2.8 2.4
Discounters 3.6 3.6 3.7
Redbook Average 3.3 3.3 3.2

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