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Consumables, clearance sales driving Feb. comps

“Pricing and promotional activity” maintained their grip on shoppers as retailers last week kept just ahead of their February same-store sales target, the Johnson Redbook reported.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was down 1.5% in the third week of the four-week retail month, following a 1.4% drop the prior week. Discounters kept well above their goal, with a 2.8% comp gain month-to-date, while department stores stayed slightly above their goal of a comp drop of 8.8%.

“Retailers said President’s Day sales at the beginning of the week offered additional opportunities to clear remaining fall and winter inventories, but did not appear to contribute much additional sales momentum. In the latest week, most schools and offices were closed on Monday,” observed Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

“Business was driven by pricing and promotional activity,” Levis noted. “Demand for seasonal apparel and other spring goods varied by region and tended to be better in the warmer parts of the country, but many retailers in cold regions also reported activity in seasonal business, especially in women’s categories suggesting preemptive buying by certain consumers. Diversified retailers saw firm business in consumer basics such as food and household supplies.”

Johnson Redbook Index

Week Ended 2/7 2/14 2/21 2/28 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -9.0 -8.4 -8.7 -8.7 -8.8
Discounters 2.7 2.9 2.9 2.8 2.2
Redbook Index -1.7 -1.4 -1.5 -1.5 -1.9


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