Back-to-school apparel fuels sales, ending August with strong comps

New York – Strong apparel sales for the waning back-to-school season helped drive up comps 4.7% in the fourth and final week of August, following a 3.8% gain the prior week, according to the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

Month-to-date, August was up 3.9% compared to August of last year, in-line with Redbook’s target. Month-over-month showed a 0.6% gain, slightly outpacing Redbook’s expectation for a 0.5% gain.

During the retail week ended Aug. 31, same store sales rose 4.7% in the discount channel and 2.4% in the department store segment.

“Most companies in our sample reported strength in back-to-school apparel categories such as children and juniors’,” noted Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.
“Teenagers are increasingly shopping later into the season for fall clothes after school starts.”

She added that for most retailers, the August sales period ended on Aug. 31, “so the bulk of Labor Day shopping won’t be included in this week’s report.”

Looking forward, Redbook’s preliminary target for September is 4.3% year-over-year, which would represent a flat comparison on a month-to-month basis. This target will be finalized in next week’s report. September is a five-week month on the retail calendar ending on Oct. 5. Stores will report August sales on Sept. 5 and Redbook will issue its usual Johnson Redbook Same-store Sales Index that morning.

 

Redbook September 4 2013

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