Comps Down 5.7% in First Week of July

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was down 5.7% in the first week of July. And similarly, month-to-date, July was down 5.7% compared to the same period last year — relative to a revised target of a 5.0% drop.

Month-over-month was a 1.7% drop relative to June, compared to a targeted 0.9% drop. July is a four-week month on the retail calendar ending on Aug. 1.

Sales trailed off on Sunday following the fourth of July on Saturday. Higher priced department stores contributed to most of the sales weakness, as they are heavily dependent on apparel sales. Department stores reported that customers were not responding to fashion and seasonal initiatives, most evidently in the key merchandise category of women's ready-to-wear.

The focus in July, as in the later part of June, is on clearing seasonal stock. Sales performance was driven by discount activity. Seasonal goods moved well as stores stepped up clearance-oriented promotions ahead of fall restocking.

Johnson Redbook Index
First week of July, year-over-year % change

WEEK ENDED 7/11 7/18 7/25 8/1 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -8.9 -8.9 -7.4
Discounters -3.9 -3.9 -3.6
Redbook Average -5.7 -5.7 -5.0

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