Redbook sees slight gain in 2nd week

Lifted by Easter holiday spending, retail sales perked up somewhat during the second week of April, but not nearly as much as hoped for, with cool April weather taking much of the blame for the disappointing results.

Same-store sales advanced by 2.3 percent, improving on a gain of 2.0 percent the prior week. And for the two weeks month-to-date, sales ticked up by 2.2 percent, well short of a targeted increase of 2.9 percent, the Redbook Retail Sales Average reported.

Stacked up against March results, sales improved by 4.6 percent, but once again fell below a 5.3 percent target.

While sales did improve over the Easter weekend, "the week's performance was seen as disappointing in light of the surge in sales which was expected," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis, especially given the easy comparison against the same period a year ago.

"Cool April weather, compared with temperatures which were considerably higher last year, dampened demand for fans, air conditioners and other warm weather-related items," Levis observed. "Particularly affected were apparel-intensive stores in comparison with more diversified retailers."

Predictably, discounters far outpaced department stores once again. Discounter sales improved by 4.4 percent, cooling off somewhat after an even faster pace of 5.6 percent growth the week before. Department sales declined by 1.2 percent, an improvement over an even deeper drop of 3.8 percent the preceding week.

Discount stores, said Levis, gained on sales of toys, electronics, basic goods and such seasonal hard-lines as lawn and garden equipment. "Department stores, however, softened," she said, noting that they had seen less of a pick-up in seasonal apparel than expected. "Sales in the spring decorative merchandise category also have been weaker than expected. Month-to-date, most retailers in our sample fell modestly short of plan or toward the low lend of targeted ranges."

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Second week of April

Week ended 4/12 4/19 4/26 5/3 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department Stores* -3.8 -1.2 -2.5 -1.8
Discounters 5.6 4.4 5.0 5.8
Redbook Average 2.0 2.3 2.2 2.9

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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