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March comp-store sales fall flat

Week ended 3/8 3/15 3/22 3/29 4/5 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 0.6 0.5 0.7 0.1 0.0 0.4 0.9
Discounters 1.3 1.5 1.8 1.5 1.2 1.5 1.8
Redbook Index 1.0 1.1 1.4 1.0 0.8 1.1 1.4

New York – Merchandisers pushed up comparable-store sales just 0.8% in the fifth and final week of the March retail calendar, with the full-month comp gain of 1.1% falling short of the 1.4% goal, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

Department stores in particular ran out of wind, posting a 0.4% comp gain for March – which was preceded by comp drops of -0.1% in February, -0.9% in January, and -0.8% in December. Still, March was the first positive-comp month for upstairs chains since they posted an on-goal 3.1% gain last November.

“The week’s performance reflected difficult comparisons with the pre-Easter shopping week last year,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. “Seasonal categories were generally weaker due to cool and wet weather throughout much of the country. Discount stores saw firm business in basic food and consumables.”

Levis noted, “Our preliminary target for April is for year-over-year same store growth of 1.7%. This would represent a month-over-month change versus March of -1.5%.”

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