Final week softens month's gain
October 13, 2003-- Home Textiles Today,
After climbing solidly higher during the early part of the month, same-store retail sales softened somewhat as September drew to a close, notably at full-price department stores, putting the Redbook Retail Sales Average slightly beneath plan for the entire five-week month, but still posting a solid gain.
The Redbook Average finished the month with a gain of 3.2 percent, modestly off the target of a 3.4 percent increase. Discounters just made their numbers, gaining by 4.9 percent vs. a targeted gain of 4.8 percent. But after a strong start to the month, department stores came up short, sales improving by 0.6 percent, compared to a targeted increase of 1.2 percent.
"Sales were somewhat slower for most stores in our model in the final week of September compared to the previous week," said Redbook retail analyst Catlin Levis. "The slowdown was more evident at department stores than at discount stores. However, the week's shortfall was not sufficient to reduce the average for the month as a whole, which remained unchanged from the previous week." Some retailers, Levis noted, "reported seasonal apparel sales picked up, especially in the Great Lakes region, driven by cooler, more fall-like temperatures."
Retailers, Levis added, are now entering the final month of their fiscal third quarter, a four-week month on the retail calendar that ends Nov. 1. "Columbus Day comes in the second week, matching the timing of the year-ago holiday and presenting no comparison issues. Halloween is more significant; this increasingly popular event falls on the fourth and final week of the month."
Levis said Redbook's preliminary year-over-year growth target for October is 3.5 percent, which would result in a month-over-month gain of 1.1 percent.
Redbook Retail Sales Average
Fifth week of September
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.