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Comp store sales ahead of April projections

New York -- Building on robust Easter holiday sales, and helped by sales of seasonal merchandise, same-store retail sales picked up by 5.1% during the third week of April, the Johnson Redbook Index said. This year's late Easter holiday made for an easy comparison over last year, when Easter sales fell into March, and April sales were proportionately softer.

Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales were up by 4.4% from the third week of February, modestly ahead of a targeted gain of 4.2%. For the three weeks month to date, sales climbed higher by 4.6%, somewhat ahead of the target of a 4.4% increase.

Discounters performed strongly with a 7.3% increase, down somewhat from the 7.9% increase reported the week before in the run-up to the holiday. Department-store sales rose by 1.6%, and improved on a 1.4% increase the prior week.

Redbook analyst Catlin Levis said, "Top selling merchandise categories, showing a strong seasonal bias, were concentrated in spring apparel, home improvement, food and basic consumables."