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Same-store sales gathering steam

NEW YORK — Building steadily through the month as temperatures turned warmer and consumers cashed in refund checks, same-store retail sales picked up 4.3 percent during the third week of March, building on gains of 3.7 and 3.8 percent during the two preceding weeks, the Johnson Redbook Average reported.

Sales climbed across the board during the third week, with discounters up 5.3 percent, and department stores improving 2.7 percent.

Through the three weeks month-to-date, sales have climbed 3.9 percent over year-before levels, slightly beating a 3.8 percent target. Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales were 0.7 percent beneath the same period during February, again slightly ahead of a targeted 0.8 percent decline.