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Same-Store Sales Slightly Below Plan

Chilled out by some weather-related softness as the week got off to a start, same-store retail sales came in slightly beneath expectations during the first week of March, rising 3.7 percent, and just missing a targeted gain of 3.8 percent, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Both department stores and discounters modestly lagged their target during the opener. Discounters reported a 4.5 percent gain in same-store sales, missing the target of a 4.7 percent increase. Department store sales rose 2.4 percent, just shy of an expected 2.5 percent.

“The first week was somewhat mixed,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “The week opened softly for several merchants before firming in the final days. Our model ended the period slightly below plan overall.”

Levis commented, “Certain retailers said that business was hampered in the East Coast and parts of the Midwest by inclement weather, reducing traffic and suppressing demand for spring goods. The discounters were led by food and household supplies, although some reported strength in bigger-ticket discretionary goods, such as electronics.”

Looking ahead, said Levis, March contains two holiday sales events, St. Patrick's Day and Easter. In something of a skewing effect, the Easter weekend falls two weeks earlier than it did last year, Levis noted. “This will inflate March's year-over-year growth rate. To counter the distortion, retailers recommend averaging both March and April's comps for comparison purposes.”

Johnson Redbook Index
First week of March

Week ended 3/5 3/12 3/19 3/26 4/2 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.4 2.4 2.5
Discounters 4.5 4.5 4.7
Redbook Average 3.7 3.7 3.8

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