No thaw for same-store in second week
February 24, 2003,
Hit hard by winter storms that ripped through most of the eastern seaboard, shutting down roadways and locking consumers out of the malls, same-store retail sales limped up just 0.5 percent during the second week of February, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.
"Sales were somewhat mixed in the second week but were better overall than in the first week as Valentine's Day was a major draw for some merchants, attracting customers into stores," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Certain stores reported sales of Valentine's Day items such as jewelry, selected women's apparel, flowers and candy. Merchants said the resulting increase in customer counts drove traffic in categories not directly related to the event."
At the same time, said Levis, consumers worried about possible terrorist activity were stocking up on basics and consumables.
Discounters, Levis added, "continued to fare better than stores dependent on discretionary spending." Still drawing in budget-conscious consumers, discounters boosted their sales by 3.2 percent during the week, while full-price department store sales dropped off by 4.1 percent.
Bad weather along the East Coast dampened sales on the weekend and offset gains earlier in the week. But still, Levis noted, "stores are trying to reach company expectations" for the entire month. February, she noted, "is a short month with thin volumes made volatile by spring transitions and individual promotional events."
Redbook Retail Sales Average
Second week of February
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.