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March Comps Beat Expectations

An earlier Easter helped propel same-store sales gains in March, which beat projections, according to the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

Comps for the month rose 3.9%, exceeding Redbook’s 3.7% target. In the final week of the month, ended April 3, total comps jumped 5.2%. Department store comps rose 3.2%, and discounter’s comps gained 5.7%.

“Most retailers were satisfied with their business and with customers’ response to spring merchandise,” said Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.

However, retailers expect year-over-year comparisons in April to soften – again, due to the shift in the Easter holiday.

“Retailers recommend withholding judgment on the season until the end of this month when March and April can be assessed as a single accounting unit,” said Levis.

Redbooks preliminary target for April is a 3.1% rise in aggregate comp store sales.

Johnson Redbook Index
Fifth week of March, year-over-year % change

Week Ended 3/6 3/13 3/20 3/27 4/3 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.3 2.5 2.7 3.2 4.1 2.9 2.9
Discounters 3.6 3.8 4.1 5.0 5.7 4.2 4.1
Redbook Index 3.1 3.3 3.6 4.4 5.2 3.9 3.7

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