Comp Sales in Late March Uptick

Comparable-store sales were down 0.6% in the fourth week of March, a swing up from the 1.3% drop in the previous week, the Johnson Redbook reported.

Month-to-date, the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index is down 1.1%, still trailing the goal of a 0.8% comp drop. The five-week retail month was to end April 4.

"Mild weather added to various spring breaks helped entice consumers to go outdoors and shop for spring necessities such as lawn and garden equipment and consumer basics," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Sales are expected to strengthen as shopping activity increases in the coming two weeks leading up to the Easter holiday."

Levis noted, "Retailers prefer a late Easter holiday since temperatures are more likely to be higher, making for a smooth transition into the core of the spring season. This year's Easter falls three weeks later than last year.

"Meanwhile, many businesses were disrupted by the worst floods in recorded history in the Red River valley region, North Dakota and parts of Minnesota. Sales of flood related products were brisk such as sandbags, rubber gloves, rubber boots and heavy duty bags."

Johnson Redbook Index
Fourth 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 -8.5 -7.9
Discounters 2.9 3.3 3.1 3.8 3.3 3.4
Redbook Index -1.4 -1.1 -1.3 -0.6 -1.1 -0.8

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