NEW YORK - The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 2.7% in the second week of February following a 2.5% gain in the prior week. Month-to-date, February was up 2.6% compared to February of last year (relative to a target of a 2.8% gain). Month-over-month showed a 1.3% gain compared to January (relative to a target of a 1.5% gain).

February is a four-week month on the retail calendar, ending on Feb. 25. Sales during the week were driven by a combination of factors, including: Valentine's day promotions such as candy, flowers, cosmetics, jewelry and selected women's apparel as well as continuing clearance of winter merchandise.

At the beginning of the week some retailers noted customer traffic and sales slowed on Sunday due to the Super Bowl as shoppers' attention was diverted. Sales did, however, pick up modestly toward the end of the week as Valentine's Day approaches. Valentine's day is one day later than last year, pushing some related sales into the subsequent fiscal week and prolonging related purchases according to some retailers. Meanwhile, February is typically a small month with thin volume made volatile by spring transitions and individual promotional events.

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