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March comps disappoint

New York - Easter sales turned out to be softer than expected, giving the month of March a 2.9% year-over-year comp increase, missing The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index's target of the 3.3%.

Comps were up 2.5% in the fifth and final week of March following a 3.5% gain the prior week. Same-store sales in the discount channel rose 3.3% for the retail week ended April 6. Comps in the department store segment were up 0.8%.

Redbook analyst Catlin Levis said the growth rate for March "reflects an upward bias from the earlier placement of Easter this year; April is expected to show a corresponding downward bias."

Redbook's preliminary target for April is for year-over-year same-store growth of 2.7%, which would result in a month-over-month performance against March of a 2.0% drop.


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