Chains Post Strong Same-Store Sales Increases in March

       

       

NEW YORK–Thanks to an economic recovery that is gaining momentum, and the early-April timing of Easter, major U.S. retailers reported strong same-store sales results for March.

The department-store channel as a whole had a very healthy March, topped by Kohl’s with a powerful 22.5 percent gain in comparable-store sales. Macy’s same-store sales increased by 10.8 percent, Dillard’s by 9 percent and J.C. Penney by 5.4 percent.

The discount chains were led by TJX with an increase of 12 percent, followed by Target with a 10.3 percent rise. Factoring out gasoline sales, BJ’s Wholesale Club posted a 7.3 percent increase and Costco’s U.S. locations reported a 2 percent gain.

Chains such as J.C. Penney, Target, Macy’s and Dillard’s posted last month’s increases on a low base. For U.S. retailers, March 2009 was one of the lowest points in the economic downturn.

Because a good deal of Easter-related sales took place in March, the retailers are expecting April sales to slow down considerably. In its statement on the March results, Kohl’s said it is assuming that its April same-store sales will come in with a low double-digit decrease. Macy’s said it is projecting a flat same-store sales performance for this month.