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Sales continue to slide as consumers fret about future

New York — With consumers still fatigued by war talk and increasingly worried about the economy and the job market, same-store retail sales skidded down during the first week in March, slipping by 0.7 percent, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.

And curdling hopes of a retail recovery any time soon, sales are expected to remain soft throughout the rest of the month, hampered by a late Easter holiday that will pull sales into April.

Consumers continued to shun full-price department stores and high-price deferrable purchases, and focused on the necessities. Basic consumer goods did better than seasonal goods, putting discounters ahead of department stores relative to the plan after the first week. Discount sales were led by food, electronics, household supplies, drugs and consumables, although some reported strength in seasonal apparel categories in regions where the warm weather has arrived.

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