Comps Lackluster in September's Third Week

As back-to-school wraps up, retail comps for the third week of September declined 2.6% following a 1.9% drop the previous week, the Johnson Redbook reported last week.

Same-store sales were up 0.3% relative to August but fell 2.3% compared to September 2008.

"Discount stores remained above plan, which were sustained largely by food and household supplies as well as certain hard lines such as electronics, while department stores fell behind," said Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.

Discount stores' comps were flattish — down 0.6%. Department stores' comp dropped 6.0% after falling 4.8% a week earlier.

Apparel sales were slack, which particularly hurt department stores, said Levis.

"Both formats saw a mix of business in back-to-school categories, now winding down, and in fall apparel, but traffic was thin and volumes disappointing," she added.

Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of September, year-over-year % change

WEEK ENDED 9/5 9/12 9/19 9/26 10/3 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -5.3 -4.8 -6.0 -5.4 -5.8
Discounters -0.7 -0.2 -0.6 -0.5 -1.2
Redbook Index -2.4 -1.9 -2.6 -2.3 -2.9

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