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Comps Slow to Start in March

NEW YORK - Same store sales rose 2.7% in the first week of March, according to The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.
     This year's Easter weekend falls two weeks earlier than it did last year, shifting holiday business into March from April, noted Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.
     "Sales targets reflect the upward bias caused by the earlier placement of Easter this year, causing retailers to plan for an above average March countered by a below average April," she said. "Retailers suggest averaging the two months together for comparison purposes."
     Because the first week of March was the smallest week in terms of expected sales volume for some retailers, Redbook cautioned it might be unrepresentative as a trend line for the month.
     "Despite the slow start to March, retailers are looking particularly for an improvement in seasonal business as warmer weather, St Patrick's Day celebration, spring break, as well as an early March Easter holiday draw closer," said Levis.

Johnson Redbook Index

First week of March, year-over-year % change

WEEK ENDED

3/9  

 3/16 

3/23  

3/30  

4/6    

MONTH 

TARGET

Department stores*

1.6

    

1.6

2.1

Discounters

3.3

    

3.3

4.0

Redbook Index

2.7

    

2.7

3.3

*Including chain stores and traditional department stores

Source: Johnson Redbook Index

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