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July same-stores start slow

New York — Getting July off to a choppy start, same-store sales during the first week of the month remained weak for the nation's department stores, while discounters continued to draw bargain-conscious consumers to the malls, according to the widely watched Redbook Retail Sales Average.

Same-store sales in the nation's department stores fell by 1.5 percent from June levels, while discounters advanced by 3.8 percent. Hobbled by continued weakness in high-price, high-margin department stores, the widely watched Redbook Average moved up by 1.7 percent during the week, well shy of a targeted gain of 2.1 percent.

"July is a typically trendless transitional month as retailers clear summer stocks and prepare for fall," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Summer promotions may be more aggressive than usual due to the weakness in the retail environment. Many department stores say they are pricing clearance more aggressively this year."

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