Retail News Breaks
March sales drop by most in nine months
April 12th, 2013
NEW YORK – According to the Commerce Department, retail sales decreased 0.4%, the largest decline since June 2012, following a 1% increase in February.
Department stores and electronics retailers were among the hardest hit. The National Retail Federation (NRF) blamed colder weather and the payroll tax hike. According to the trade group, retail sales excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, fell 1.6% year-over-year while edging downward 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis since February.
Among mass market retailers reporting monthly results, Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a 4% increase in same-store sales including the effects of foreign exchange rates and its fuel business. Excluding the impact of its gasoline business and currency exchange, same-store results grew 6%. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 5.2% increase on average, including the effects of fuel and foreign exchange.
Meanwhile, regional discounter Fred’s Inc., which operates 713 stores mainly in the Southeast, posted a 3% drop in same-store sales, exceeding the 1.7% decline expected by analysts. Management blamed unseasonably cool weather and a calendar shift in the timing of Easter.
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