Same stores sales up 7 percent

Helped once again by a big gain at full-price department stores, where sales of spring fashions were holding strong, same-store retail sales climbed 7.2 percent during the fifth and final week of March, the Johnson Redbook Retail sales Index reported.

With sales building steadily throughout the month — most notably at department stores, where growth continued to outpace that of discounters — same-store sales for all of March improved by 6.2 percent, easily beating a target of 5 percent growth.

Still on a roll, full-price department stores reported same-store sales growth of 8.9, up from 8.5 percent the week before. For the entire month, department store comps shot up 6.3 percent, flying past a target of 3.6 percent. Sales at discounters grew at a slower pace of 6.1 percent during the week and for all of March, compared with a target of 5.8 percent.

"Most retailers finished March ahead of plan, and were satisfied with their business and with customers' response to fashion spring merchandise," said Johnson Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis.

Following "an above-average March," Levis set a preliminary target for April of 6.1 percent year-over-year growth.

Since stepping out on its own, after operating for years as a part of Instinet (a unit of Reuters), the weekly index has resumed its original name, the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index, in honor of former retail analyst Ed Johnson, who created the Redbook in 1964.

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Fifth week of March

Week ended 3/6 3/13 3/20 3/27 4/3 Month Target
Department stores* 3.7 4.2 6.5 8.5 8.9 6.3 3.6
Discounters 6.0 6.1 6.1 6.0 6.1 6.1 5.8
Redbook Average 5.1 5.4 6.3 6.9 7.2 6.2 5.0
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index

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