NEW YORK - The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 2.5% in the third week of January following a 2.8% gain in the previous week.
Month-to-date, January was up 2.9% compared to January of last year (in-line with the target). Month-over-month showed a 1.6% drop compared to December (also in-line with the target). January is a four-week month on the retail calendar, ending on January 28.
“The extended Martin Luther King Jr. holiday at the beginning of the week offered additional opportunities to clear remaining winter inventories, but did not appear to contribute much additional sales momentum,” according to the report. “Meanwhile, winter storms toward end of the week, particularly in the pacific northwest and northeast regions, kept people at home and thinned out store traffic. The cold weather, however, had a mixed effect since it also encouraged shoppers to purchase winter apparel since most winter inventory is on clearance. This type of business did not necessarily translate into higher margins, but it did momentarily improve sales performance. Apparel and other seasonal soft lines ranked high on volume leader lists as retailers sold where they were discounting. Retailers are already moving in Valentine's Day and some spring merchandise ahead of schedule.”