January Comps Crumbling
Home Accents Today Staff -- Home Accents Today, February 4, 2008
Comparable store retail sales headed toward a sluggish finale as most retailers' fiscal years wound down toward the finish on Saturday, Feb. 2, with comps up just 0.4% in the third week of January, slowing from a 0.7% gain the week before, the Johnson Redbook reported.
Month-to-date, January same-store sales were up 0.7%, lagging the 1.1% target. Comps have slid steadily since opening with a gain of 0.9% in the first week of the retail month.
Softlines were in particularly tough shape as regards margins, Redbook reported. "The consumer is still in a penny-pinching mood and gross margins for soft goods continued to be under pressure," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.
"The focus on clearance and inventory reshaping continued to make for thin, sporadic activity during the week. Some retailers claimed to sense an active tone during the Martin Luther King holiday," Levis said.
"Retailers said consumers continued to be drawn into stores for after-holiday sales, but that average purchases were modest. Weekly sales leaders lists indicated a shift away from clearance categories," Levis noted.
Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of January, year-over-year % change
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index