The Johnson Redbook retail sales index was up 4.5% in the fourth and final week of July following a 3.5% gain the previous week. The month was up 4.3% compared to a year ago, relative to a targeted 4.4% gain. Month-over-month showed a 0.5% drop compared to June, relative to a projected 0.4% decrease.

As in the earlier part of the month, the final week saw steady sales of summer goods. Since July is a clearance month, and retailers sometimes have promoted heavily to drive sales, they point out that elevated volumes do not automatically imply strong margins.

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