JOHNSON REDBOOK: FINAL WEEK BROUGHT STORES 3.8% GAINS

NEW YORK — Johnson Redbook Service estimated Tuesday that retail sales were up a better-than-expected 3.8 percent in the final week before Christmas, but it was “not enough to rescue the disappointing holiday season.”
The Wall Street research firm said the majority of retailers in its sample indicated that December’s results would be below plan, and unscheduled heavy promotions “are likely to wreak havoc on gross margins.”
The International Council of Shopping Centers, however, estimated sales grew 4.7 percent for the season, compared with a 5.5 percent gain last year.
According to TeleCheck Services Inc., a check-acceptance company, the 31-day holiday shopping season ended with same-store sales down 3.8 percent. This marked an improvement from earlier in the season, but still below forecasts.
By product, higher-priced apparel sold well, while budget-to-moderate apparel sold poorly, according to Johnson Redbook. The Midwest, Southeast and Southwest were the best-performing regions.
Saturday was the biggest shopping day of the season, TeleCheck said. The day after Thanksgiving was the sixth-biggest shopping day. — Fairchild News Service

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