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LYNCH, JONES & RYAN'S FORECASTS CHRISTMAS TURNAROUND FOR RETAILERS -- PREDICTS CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SEASON SALES TO RISE AT LEAST 6 PERCENT

LYNCH, JONES & RYAN'S FORECASTS CHRISTMAS TURNAROUND FOR RETAILERS -- PREDICTS CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SEASON SALES TO RISE AT LEAST 6 PERCENT
 NEW YORK, July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Retail sales in the 1992 Christmas shopping season will be up at least six percent over last year, according to a forecast issued today by Ed Johnson, retailing industry analyst at Lynch, Jones & Ryan and publisher of the Johnson Redbook market report on the retail trade. "This won't be a super Christmas, but it's a bonanza compared to last year," Johnson said.
 Traditionally, holiday season sales amount to 22 percent of the year's revenue for the $467 billion general merchandise, apparel and furniture retailing industries, Johnson said. Last year's Christmas shopping season rose only 3.7 percent over 1990 and capped a three-year string of disappointing holiday seasons.
 A strong 1992 season will be led by apparel sales, with home furnishings a close second, Johnson said. His optimistic forecast is based on three prevailing trends:
 -- Retail sales are up for the first half of year and early reports from stores show fall goods are selling well;
 -- Consumer disposable income will continue to grow through the holiday season;
 -- Consumer psychology is entering a new cycle, with customers tired of what's in the drawers and closet and are willing to spend when they see bargain prices.
 The impact of the trends is already showing at the cash register, Johnson said. June sales were up 6 percent over last December and sales in the first two weeks of July show an 11 percent gain above the 1991 holiday season. "We believe the 1992 Christmas shopping season will be somewhere between the June and July sales levels," he said.
 Shoppers are back in the stores, but are making bargain-hunting their first priority. "The consumer still wants quality and fashion, but at bargain prices," Johnson said. "The Joneses next door are as broke if not broker than you are. At cocktail parties, people are talking about how much money they saved at off-price stores, discounters or warehouse clubs."
 As a result, much of the increase this Christmas will come at the expense of conventional chains and department stores, Johnson said. Discounters have seen their share of the retail market jump from 45 percent in 1987 to 53 percent today.
 One of the better-known analysts covering retailing and related industries, Johnson has been publishing the Johnson Redbook of market data for more than 30 years. The report's weekly retail sales report is a de facto leading indicator of economic activity nationwide. It has also been cited by The Wall Street Journal as "the hottest new forecasting tool" for bond traders, "because consumer spending accounts for about one-third of the nation's economic activity."
 Lynch, Jones & Ryan, founded in 1966, is a securities brokerage firm well known for its agency trading capabilities. The firm transacts equity and fixed-income trades for more than 1,000 institutional money management clients around the world and is a pioneer in providing independent research services to institutional investors, currently offering more than 500 research and measurement products to its clients. In addition, the firm's Plan Sponsor Services Division is the largest provider of commission recapture programs, with over 400 corporate, public and Taft-Hartley fund clients.
 -0- 7/27/92
 /CONTACT: Ed Johnson of Lynch, Jones & Ryan, 212-243-3137, or David Kogut of GCI Corporate & Financial, 212-546-2687, for Lynch, Jones, & Ryan/ CO: Lynch, Jones & Ryan ST: New York IN: REA SU: ECO


LR-OS -- NY065 -- 3635 07/27/92 16:01 EDT
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Date:Jul 27, 1992
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