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Same-Store Sales Just Shy of Mark

New York — Stunted by a late Easter that pushes holiday sales into April this year, same-store retail sales slowed somewhat during the third week of March, rising by 2.5% and coming in beneath the 2.7% increase recorded the prior week, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Sales for the three weeks month-to-date fell slightly short of the mark, rising by 2.5%, just missing a targeted gain of 2.6%.

Department-store sales rose by 1.9% after moving up by 2.0% the week before. Discounter sales rose by 2.9%, off slightly from a 3.1% increase the preceding week.

“Early signs of the unfavorable Easter comparison became apparent over the weekend for some retailers,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. “Last year, with Easter three weeks earlier than this year, Easter holiday shopping began to boost sales and raise growth hurdles from the third weekend of March. Retailers have factored these difficult comparisons into their plans and growth expectations for the second half of the month are mostly slower. Hence, a gradual slowdown is in accordance with the outlook for March, and our model as a whole remains slightly below target with two more weeks left to run.”

Many retailers, Levis pointed out, “prefer a later Easter holiday since temperatures are more likely to be higher, making for a smooth transition into the core of the Spring season. Retailers are hoping they will get a lift from shoppers cashing in their tax refunds.”

Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of March (year-over-year % change)

Week ended 3/4 3/11 3/18 3/25 4/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 1.7 2.0 1.9 1.9 2.0
Discounters 2.9 3.1 2.9 3.0 3.0
Redbook Average 2.4 2.7 2.5 2.5 2.6


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