Johnson Redbook Index: Subdued Same-Store Sales Growth


Jun. 22 2015, Published 12:28 p.m. ET

Same-store sales are dull 

The data released on June 16 on the Johnson Redbook retail sales index indicates a 1.1% rise on a YoY (year-over-year) basis in same-store sales in the week ending June 13, 2015. This compares to 1.2% growth in the previous week. This is the fifth consecutive week that the Johnson Redbook Index has been below 2%. The Johnson Redbook Index fell 1.7% in the first two weeks of June from the same period on a month-over-month basis.

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Johnson Redbook Index

The Johnson Redbook retail sales index is prepared by Redbook Research. It tracks retailers across six categories:

  • apparel specialty
  • department
  • discount
  • furniture
  • drug
  • miscellaneous

Redbook attributed the YoY weakness in same-store sales to the calendar shift of Father’s Day to June 21. Several retailers faced disappointing sales in the men’s apparel category. In the second week, the sales of seasonal items were driven by promotions as stores seek to move their inventories before the fall season.

Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs Index

The latest release of the Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs Index for the week ending June 13 indicated a 1.9% rise in the US same-store sales from the same week the previous year. The same-store sales rose by 2.1% in the previous week on a YoY basis. Same-store sales rose by 0.2% on a week-over-week basis.

Key takeaways for department stores

The slow growth in retail same-store sales isn’t favorable news for department stores. Macy’s (M) is the largest department store. It struggled in the first quarter and reported a 0.7% fall in 1Q15 same-store sales. Macy’s underperformed other companies like Nordstrom (JWN), Kohl’s (KSS) and J.C. Penney (JCP). They reported same-store sales growth of 4.4%, 1.4%, and 3.4%, respectively. Department stores account for ~5.6% of the portfolio holdings of the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT).

In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss how consumers’ opinions about the state of the economy impact department stores.


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