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Retail Briefs

NRF Takes Stand Against China Duty

The National Retail Federation has urged the Senate to reject an amendment offered by Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that would impose a 27.5 percent duty on all imports from China unless China agrees to revalue its currency.

“The Schumer amendment is a sledgehammer approach to an issue that is being properly addressed through sensible diplomacy and the tools already available under U.S. law,” NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin said. “This proposal would amount to a huge new tax on U.S. consumers at a time when they're already stretching their dollars to meet record-high gasoline prices. It would merely shift foreign trade to other countries, driving up U.S. prices while doing nothing to reduce the trade deficit or protect U.S. jobs.”

Retail Index Rises In March

An early Easter last month helped the Retail Sector Performance Index (RSPI) rise 2.8 points from February to 58.4, its highest reading since May 2004, according to the results of the March NRF Retail Executive Opinion Survey.

Major survey indicators for March remained strong as gains in customer sales and traffic increased the Current Demand Index 2.2 points to 61.4. Retail executives also reported more pricing power in March as the Pricing Index rose 5.5 points to 45.5, the highest reading since the survey's inception in 2003.

Wal-Mart Says March Sales Up

Wal-Mart said same-store sales rose 4.2 percent in March. The Southeast was the strongest region, and food did better than general merchandise, the company said. Wal-Mart added that sell-throughs for Easter products were similar to last year, but bad weather caused spring items to come in below plan.

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