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April Sales Strongest in 13 Months
Same-store sales for April climbed 8.5 percent year over year, according to ICSC’s index. The increase was better than expected and the strongest showing since the 9 percent increase of March 2010. But the numbers were padded by some 2 to 3 percent owing to this year’s Easter date shift to April 24, from April 4 last year. Higher fuel prices had a hand too — fuel sales excluded, the month’s sales were up 7.4 percent from a year ago.
Apparel stores benefited most, seeing an 11.9 percent sales increase, followed by wholesale clubs, which enjoyed a nearly equal-size boost of 11.6 percent. (With gas sales excluded, wholesalers rose 6.7 percent).
“Helping to drive sales has been the improving trend in employment growth,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “But rising fuel and food prices are cutting into discretionary spending power, which is likely to temper the trend pace of spending ahead.”
ICSC is anticipating a 3 percent to 3.5 percent year-on-year gain for May.