March retail sales trend up

April 6, 2012

March was a good month for the nation's retailers. Major chains posted a 4.3 percent sales increase in March compared with the same month a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations of a more modest 3.5 percent rise, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The top-performing chains were a mixture of high-end and moderately-priced chains. Zumiez Inc. enjoyed the highest increase with a 14.1 percent bump. Ross Stores Inc. and TJX Cos. both reported 10 percent increases, and even Gap Inc., which has been struggling in the last year, beat expectations, jumping 8 percent.

About 59 percent of retailers beat expectations, according to the story. Warm weather and an earlier Easter may have contributed to the gains, analysts said.

"There has been a pull forward of early spring spending that might normally take place in April," Ken Perkins, a retail expert at Retail Metrics Inc., said in the story. "That means April will be weak. But beyond that, there are good signs going forward."

Read more about consumer behavior.

Topics: Consumer Behavior

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