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Sales strong as Easter passes

Building on strong March results, same-store retail sales improved 5.4 percent during the first week of April, but started to lose their full head of steam closing in on the Easter holiday, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

With Easter holiday shopping drawing to a close, department stores reported a robust 4 percent growth in comps, just shy of a target of 4.1 percent, but off their remarkably strong growth of 9.5 percent the prior week. Discounters grew their same-store sales by 6.2 percent, slightly beneath the target of 6.3 percent growth.

"Following an above-plan March as retailers enter the final month of the first quarter, results of the first week were in-line with plan," said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis.

Easter falls nine days earlier this year than last, and, "Some retailers set lower year-over-year growth targets in April to account for the shift in the Easter holiday, which boosts March, however, hurts April sales," Levis added. "Combining the results for March and April gives a more accurate reflection of the results of the Easter selling season."

During the final week of holiday shopping, "Easter-related sales drove demand for food, certain apparel lines, toys and candy typical of the Easter holiday. Retailers expect less favorable comparisons next week as most were closed on Easter Sunday and merchants will go against the Easter week of last year."

Redbook Retail Sales Average
First week of April

Week ended 4/10 4/17 4/24 5/1 Month Target
Department stores* 4.0 4.0 4.1
Discounters 6.2 6.2 6.3
Redbook Average 5.4 5.4 5.4
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index


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