Department stores limped to end of October 

Week ended 10/11 10/18 10/25 11/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -6.5  -6.0 -6.7 -8.2 -6.8 -6.2
Discounters 4.9 4.9  5.3 5.4 5.1 5.0
Redbook Index 0.5 0.8 0.7 0.3 0.6 0.7

New York – Comparable store volume trailed off weakly in the fourth and final week of the October retail month, with department stores slumping badly, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

While discounters actually finished with hardlines strength and ahead of plan overall, department store operators’ faltering comp sales fell 8.2% in the fourth week, dragging down the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index to an overall comp gain of 0.3% for the week and 0.6% for the month.

Month-over-month was 1.2% below September, falling short of a targeted 1.0% drop.

“Halloween business was satisfactory, although its effects were not uniform, given the differences in retailers’ exposure to this merchandising drive. The latest week, including last minute Halloween related merchandise shopping, gave a lift to customer traffic and sales at discounters. Halloween shopping also helped to spur sales of pharmaceutical items and basic consumables,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

“Meanwhile, holiday merchandise is beginning to display on floors as retailers are promoting earlier than usual. Looking forward, November is ending with the official beginning of the holiday season starting on ‘Black Friday’ which falls in the final week,” Levis noted. “Our preliminary target for November is for 0.9% year-over-year same-store growth, generating a month-to-month gain of 0.7%.”

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