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Discounters propel March comps to goal

 Fifth week of March, year-over-year % change

Week ended 3/7 3/14 3/21 3/28 4/4 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -8.7  -8.4 -8.7 -8.1  -7.6 -8.3 -7.9
Discounters  2.9 3.3  3.1 3.8  5.2      3.7  3.4
Redbook Index -1.4 -1.1 -1.3 -0.6   0.4   -0.8 -0.8


New York – A late surge of activity in the discount channel helped retailers make their overall, modest comparable-store sales target for March, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 0.4% in the fifth and final week of the month, good enough to reach the overall target of a 0.8% comp drop.

“Mild weather, pent-up demand and Easter-related purchases drove sales for boys and girls apparel, footwear and Easter seasonal goods,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. “The heavily weighted discount stores saw firm business in consumer basics such as food and household supplies.”

With the Index moving through historically subterranean territory – it had never before logged three negative-comp months in a row and March was the fifth consecutive neg-comp month – the target for April will be tentatively pegged at a 0.1% comp gain.

“As previously noted, the growth rate for March reflects a downward bias from the later placement of Easter this year. April is expected to show a corresponding upward bias,” said Levis. “Our preliminary target for April is year-over-year growth of 0.1%, which would result in a month-to-month comparison against March of a 1.1% gain.”

The Index will finalize its April target in next week’s report.

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