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Wet Weather Can't Sink Same-Store Sales

Same-store retail sales firmed up somewhat during the fifth and final week of March, rising 4.1 percent, despite wet and stormy spring weather that chilled out sales of apparel, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Helped by a stronger finish, recovering from some softness earlier during the month, March finished up modestly above plan, with comps rising 4 percent, beating a targeted 3.8 percent gain.

Helped by sales of Easter-related products, both department stores and discounters exceeded expectations for the five selling weeks of March. Discounter sales rose 4.9 percent, besting a target of 4.7 percent; and department stores pushed sales higher 2.6 percent, ahead of a 2.5 percent goal.

“Sales were mixed to slightly firmer in the week, and our model ended the month slightly above target,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “Two weeks into spring, wet and stormy weather dampened demand for apparel-intensive stores in comparison with more diversified retailers. The heavily weighted discount stores saw firm business in consumer basics such as food and household supplies.”

Levis said, “The growth rate for March reflects an upward bias from the earlier placement of Easter this year.” Balancing things out, she added, April “is expected to show a corresponding downward bias. Our preliminary target for April is year-over-year growth of 3.2 percent, which would result in a month-to-month decline against March of 2.2 percent.”

Johnson Redbook Index
Fifth week of March

Week ended 3/5 3/12 3/19 3/26 4/2 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.4 2.6 2.7 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.5
Discounters 4.5 4.6 5.3 4.9 5.2 4.9 4.7
Redbook Average 3.7 3.8 4.3 3.9 4.1 4.0 3.8

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