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Comps revved up last week

New York - Comps rose 3.9% in the third week of December following a 2.9% gain the prior week, according to the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

Month-to-date, December was up 3.1% compared to December of last year, relative to a target of a 3.8% gain. Month-over-month showed a 1.0% drop, relative to a target of a 0.4% drop.

December is a five-week month on the retail calendar, ending on Jan. 4, 2014.

By the end of the week, retailers prepping last-minute shoppers with extended store hours and even bigger promotion, said Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.

"The most positive development was a pick-up in seasonal business as falling temperatures and heavy snowstorms in the Midwest and Northeast the previous week stimulated pent-up demand for winter apparel and other cold weather items," she added.

The promotional selling season is expected to take a bite out of margin, said Levis. "As we approach Christmas, gift card sales continue to grow in popularity, a phenomenon which could push some shopping to after the holiday as gift card sales don't record the sales revenue until the cards are used."


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