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Easter shift hurts March comps

New York – The shift of Easter back to April this year is depressing same-store sales performance, and comps fell 1.3% in the third week of March, the Johnson Redbook reported.

Johnson Redbook Index retail salesThe Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was also down 1.3% month-to-date, vs. the goal of a 0.8% drop. Discounters slightly lag their targeted 3.4% comp gain, while department stores are dragging behind their goal of a 7.9% comp drop.

“Comparisons related to the Easter shift became tougher in the third week as stores began to go up against last year's pre-Easter week, when most holiday shopping is done,” remarked Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. “Last year, with Easter three weeks earlier than this year, holiday shopping began to boost sales and raised the growth hurdle for the third week of March this year.

“Meanwhile, other retailers also reported modest sales improvement this week as consumers were mainly lured by warmer temperatures in many parts of the country and the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.”

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