Retail comp sales end February shy of mark

New York -- Same-store retail sales picked up by 3.0% during the fourth and closing week of February, but it wasn't enough to offset weather-related weakness earlier during the month, and sales for all of February missed their target, rising by 2.9%, slightly off a planned increase of 3.1%, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

"Sales improved, but too little to compensate for the record Northeastern snowstorm the prior week, and the month closed behind its target," said Carlin Levis, Redbook analyst. "During the week, the department store segment picked up volume, partly the result of the President's Day sales promotion. A number of stores reported that excluding the snowstorm, sales were about on plan for the month, following the strong January sales."

Levis said, "Over the next two months, sales gains will be affected by the floating Easter holiday, which occurs this year on the third week of April compared to the fifth week of March last year. This will hurt March and help April, and the months should be combined for fair comparisons."

Levis said her preliminary target for March is a 3.4% gain over last year, but a decline of 1.6% from February.

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