Same-store sales feel hurricanes' fury
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, August 23, 2004
Same-store retail sales continued to come in light during the second week of August, hampered in part by the impact of hurricanes Bonnie and Charley on sales in Florida and along the Southeastern coast, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.
Sales advanced 2.3 percent above year-ago levels, slightly behind the 2.4 percent increase recorded the previous week. For the two weeks month-to-date, the Redbook Index stood at 2.4 percent, modestly beneath a targeted sales gain of 2.5 percent.
Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales for the first two weeks of August were 0.6 percent beneath July levels, versus a targeted 0.4 percent decline.
Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis said hurricanes took their tool in Southeastern states "as some stores closed early or suffered damages." On the flip side, she noted, some department stores experienced an increased demand for electric generators, while discounters saw stepped up demand for other storm-related emergency items such as canned food, duct tape, headlights, water and basic consumables.
"With the unseasonably chilly and wet weather across the country, retailers reported good responses by consumers to new full-priced fall merchandise, and traditional back-to-school was again in focus, led by apparel and supported by other back-to-school items such as stationery and shoes." Elsewhere, said the analyst, several retailers reported strength in electronics.
On a positive note for profits, Levis commented, "Most retailers have kept their inventories lean, leading to more full-price selling and helping maintain margins."
Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
Second week of August
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.|
|Source: Johnson Redbook Index|