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Redbook falls short of target to begin March

New York — After making some headway during January, retail sales came in a little light and below plan during the first week of March, rising by 4.7 percent, still short of a targeted gain of 5.6 percent.

Measured against last month's performance, the Redbook Average fell by 1.2 percent, far weaker than an expected decline of 0.4 percent.

While seasonal apparel categories had a mixed performance, home goods remained strong, said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

Discounters, predictably, beat department stores and chains by a wide margin. But even so, the first week of March marked something of an improvement for full-price department stores, which actually put up an increase in sales after a long succession of declines stretching back more than a year and a half. Department store same-store sales increased by 0.9 percent during the week, right on target. Discounters racked up a smaller-than-expected gain of 7.3 percent, compared with a target of an 8.7 percent increase.

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