Joe and Josephine Public are doing their bit for the US economy, according to the Johnson Redbook, a weekly report based on a survey of fifteen major store groups to determine the sales outlook.

Department store sales rose in July, followed last week by a 3.1% year-on-year sales increase in large chain stores which in aggregate account for over 9,000 outlets. This was also 2.6% up on the preceding week.

According to the Redbook, the growth was stimulated by clearance sales and does not reflect either the impact of ‘back to school’ spending or the trickle-thru effect of July’s Federal tax rebates. “As a growing trend, consumers are delaying purchases as long as possible and waiting for clearance sales later on,” opines Johnson.

As to the rest of this year, Allen Questrom, chairman of the 1,075-store family retailer J C Penney is optimistic: “We anticipate benefits from a more favourable consumer environment supported by the positive impact of the tax package,” he says.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff