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Mother's Day provides sales lift to department stores, discounters

Helped by improving weather and the impending Mother's Day holiday, same-store retail sales picked up steam modestly during the fourth and final week of April, rising 5 percent over year-ago levels and improving on respective gains of 4.8 percent and 4.7 percent during the two preceding weeks, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Department stores retained most gains they made before Easter, improving 4.1 percent over last year and besting the gains of 3.8 and 3.9 percent of the two preceding weeks.

Discounter sales jumped 5.6 percent, topping the prior-week increase of 5.1 percent.

"The week's modest improvement reflected improved demand for women's apparel and accessories as we approach Mother's Day, May 9," said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. "Warmer weather throughout some parts of the country supported sales of seasonal merchandise."

Even with their recent improvement, Levis noted, "Sales for the week were not sufficient, however, to alter the character of the month which remained below plan."

Sales for the entire month gained 4.9 percent, but still fell short of a targeted increase of 5.4 percent. Both discounters and department stores came up short for the month, the Johnson Redbook Index reported. Discounter's same-store sales moved up 5.6 percent, missing the target of 6.3 percent. Department sales came closer to the mark, with a 3.9 percent gain coming in just shy of a 4.1 percent target.

Looking ahead to May results, Levis noted that May is a four-week month on the standard retail calendar, ending Saturday, the 29th. The month contains one major shopping event, Mother's Day, which falls on the 9th.

Levis commented, "Retailers hope warm weather will continue to spur shopping activity. Our initial target for May is for a year-over-year gain of 6.1 percent, which generates a month-to-month comparison of 2 percent."

Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
Fourth week of April

Week ended 4/10 4/17 4/24 5/1 Month Target
Department stores* 4.0 3.8 3.9 4.1 3.9 4.1
Discounters 6.2 5.5 5.1 5.6 5.6 6.3
Redbook Average 5.4 4.8 4.7 5.0 4.9 5.4
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index


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