The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index rose 2.5% in the second week of January following a 2.8% gain the previous week.

Sales are 2.7% higher so far this month than the same period of 2010 and 0.6% lower than a month ago.

“Sales cooled off somewhat in the second week,” according to the report released Wednesday. “Cold and inclement weather kept shoppers at home and consumers’ appetite for clearance bargains seemed to have been at least partially satiated.”

The report said that sales leader lists varied widely from store to store, which is fairly typical of a transitional, trendless promotion-driven month.

Year-end clearances dominated sales activity, and soft goods continue to outperform hard goods, with cold weather driving demand for winter outerwear and accessories.

Department stores are typically volatile in January as they work to clear out winter inventory.

Ice and snow storms played havoc with consumers’ ability to shop in the week ended Jan. 15 and sales were down 0.1%, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index.

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