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Redbook sales rebound in April

Propelled solidly higher by unseasonably warm weather, retail sales turned in a stronger than expected performance during the second week of April, with same-store sales gaining by 3.2 percent, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average, picking up steam after a soft start to the month and a weak Easter season.

"Sales rebounded during the second week of April," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis, jumping up by 3.2 percent, following an anemic 1.3 percent increase the prior week. Given the strong performance, both department stores and discounters were running ahead of plan for the two weeks month to date.

Mass merchant sales climbed higher by 5.6 percent, following a softer 2.7 percent increase the week before. On a month-to-date basis, discounter same-store sales were up by 4.1 percent, ahead of a target of a 3.1 percent increase. Department store sales still lagged, slipping by 0.6 percent during the second week of April, but still beat plan for the first two weeks of April, slipping just 0.8 percent, compared with a forecast drop of 1.4 percent.

"With Easter out of the way and unseasonably warm weather in most of the country, seasonal business regained momentum during the week," Levis noted. "Home improvement and outdoor merchandise were reported to be showing signs of spring fever, and business in household basics and consumables was solid. Footwear, children's and women's wear also headed most sales-leaders lists."

Breaking out retail sales on a regional basis, Levis said the Northeast and Midwest were the most active areas of the country.

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Second week of April

Week ended 4/13 4/20 4/27 5/4 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department Stores* -1.0 -0.6 -0.8 -1.4
Discounters 2.7 5.6 4.1 3.1
Redbook Average 1.3 3.2 2.2 1.4


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