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Retailers crying the April blues

New York-- Hit by a trifecta of an early Easter, rising gas prices,and coldandwet weather throughout parts of the country, same-store retail sales approached their lowest point in recent memory during April, with even some of the nation's strongest retailers, including Kohl's and Target, recording unexpected drops.

Underlining the breadth of the April debacle, 16 of the 19 retail nameplates whose same-store sales are tracked b y HTT this month, an unnerving 84%, recorded a drop in same-store sales, including some of America 's strongest retailers. Four of the 19, roughly 20%, posted double-digit drops.

Among the more notable losers was Kohl's, where same-store sales plunged by 10.5%. Target found itself an unexpected loser with its comps sinking 6.1%. And Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reported the worst single month in itscomp-storehistory, with same-store sales in U.S. Wal-Mart Stores sinking by 4.6%, while comps for the entire company fell by 3.5%, the overall slide moderated by a 2.3% increase at Sam's.

Amongmajorretailers that carry home fashions products, only three merchants recorded gains -- allof them low-cost leaders. Thebig winner was Costco with its consistent focus on low prices in a no-frills environment. There,same-store sales improved by 7.0%. A second warehouse operator, Sam's, rose 2.3%. A third value specialist, TJX, rounded out the leader board with a 2.0% increase.

 

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