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Retail index rises in March

WASHINGTON — An early Easter last month helped the Retail Sector Performance Index (RSPI) rise 2.8 points from February to 58.4, its highest reading since May 2004, according to the results of the March National Retail Federation Retail Executive Opinion Survey.

Major survey indicators for March remained strong as gains in customer sales and traffic increased the Current Demand Index 2.2 points to 61.4. Retail executives also reported more pricing power in March as the Pricing Index rose 5.5 points to 45.5, the highest reading since the survey's inception in 2003.

The RSPI measures retail executives' evaluations of monthly sales, customer traffic, the average transaction per customer, employment, inventories and a six-month-ahead sales outlook expectation. The RSPI is based on a scale of 0-100 with 50 equaling normal.

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