Comp sales outpacing September targets

New York -- Same-store retail sales continued their strong upward march through September, climbing by 4.3% during the fourth week of the five-week month, considerably ahead of plan, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

But the cheer didn't spread too far around, and striking a cautionary note, Redbook analyst Catlin Levis said, "Our sample continued ahead of plan in September because of mostly continued strength at a few key companies."

Additionally, said the analyst, "Cooler weather, declining gasoline prices and easy comparisons due to the destruction and disruption caused by last year's hurricanes definitely had a positive effect."

Getting a head-start on next month's holiday event, "Some stores reported modest business in Halloween merchandise," Levis reported. "Halloween falls on October 31, but retailers say shopping for the event for the most part has been starting earlier in years past and generating more sales volume."

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