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Same-Store Sales Gathering Steam

Building steadily through the month as temperatures turned warmer and consumers cashed in refund checks, same-store retail sales picked up 4.3 percent during the third week of March, building on gains of 3.7 and 3.8 percent during the two preceding weeks, the Johnson Redbook Average reported.

Sales climbed across the board during the third week, with discounters up 5.3 percent, and department stores improving 2.7 percent.

Through the three weeks month-to-date, sales have climbed 3.9 percent over year-before levels, slightly beating a 3.8 percent target. Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales were 0.7 percent beneath the same period during February, again slightly ahead of a targeted 0.8 percent decline.

“A number of retailers reported a pickup in business over the week as temperatures in parts of the country turned warmer,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “St. Patrick's Day-related buying helped, and shoppers cashed in their tax refund checks for bigger-ticket discretionary goods such as home appliances and consumer electronics.”

In a further boost, said Levis, “Easter-based buying started to take place across a broad range of categories from food to toys. There was a spurt in demand for women's apparel, identified by retailers at the upper and lower ends of the spectrum. March is also helped by favorable year-over-year comparisons in view of this year's early Easter. Sales momentum remains relatively solid as sales levels are expected to rise steadily into the Easter weekend.”

Breaking sales out on a regional basis, the Northeast was the strongest performer, the analyst reported.

Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of March

Week ended 3/5 3/12 3/19 3/26 4/2 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.4 2.6 2.7 2.6 2.5
Discounters 4.5 4.6 5.3 4.8 4.7
Redbook Average 3.7 3.8 4.3 3.9 3.8