Same store sales stay ahead of plan

Same-store retail sales rose 2.6 percent during the second week of July, modestly off their 2.8 percent growth pace of the week before, but still slightly ahead of plan as seasonal clearance sales continue, the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index reported.

For the two weeks month-to-date, same-store sales have risen 2.7 percent, the Redbook reported, ahead of a forecasted 2.6 percent increase. Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales are down 0.6 percent from June, better than a targeted 0.7 percent decline.

"Sales for the week remained slightly above plan," observed Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. "July is typical of a clearance-oriented month as business varied across store formats, reflecting both promotional calendars and the availability of seasonal merchandise."

Levis said, "Most stores said routine clearance was going according to plan and without the need for extensive price-cutting given tight inventories. Stores reported that scattered rain and storms across much of the country dampened demand for soft-line summer merchandise such as swimwear."

Sales at full-price department stores held steady, rising 2.3 percent, unchanged from the week before. But sales at mass merchants softened modestly, rising 2.8 percent, beneath the 3 percent growth rate of the preceding week.

Discounters, said Levis, "did their best business in consumer staples such as food and household supplies as well as in seasonal hard goods, including garden and home improvement products."

Getting a head start on the next big promotional event on the calendar, "Some retailers noticed moderate interest in back-to-school merchandise," the analyst reported.

Breaking out results on a regional basis, the Midwest was the best performing area during the week.

Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
Second week of July

Week ended 7/10 7/17 7/24 7/31 Month Target
Department stores* 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.2
Discounters 3.0 2.8 2.9 2.8
Redbook Index 2.8 2.6 2.7 2.6
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index

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