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Same-store sales lag October targets

New York --- Same-store retail sales picked up by 3.2% during the third week of October, off from the 3.4% increase the preceding week, with sales for the three weeks month-to-date also beneath plan, rising by 3.4%, and just missing a goal of 3.5% growth, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

For a third straight week consumers turned their backs on the nation's mass merchants for all but the most basic consumables, instead doing their apparel and discretionary spending at the nation's department stores. The upstairs segment saw comps by 4.1%, while discounters showed just a 2.6% gain.

For the three weeks month-to-date, department-store sales improved by 4.1%, besting a target of a 3.8% increase. Discounters, on the other hand, put up a disappointing 2.9% increase, well behind a targeted gain of 3.4%.

"Sales pulled back slightly following the Columbus Day sales during the prior week," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. October sales could come under further pressure from a shift in this year's calendar, she noted. "With Halloween being one day later this year versus last year, some Halloween business could be pushed out of October and into November."

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