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Easter Holiday Boosts Retail Industry Sales, NRF Says

18 Apr, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

WASHINGTON – An earlier Easter holiday and unseasonably warmer weather nationwide has boosted retailers’ sales worldwide, according to the latest data from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

March retail industry sales increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from February and 6.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to the NRF.

“Consumers have demonstrated the desire and ability to spend on discretionary items, further helping to spur economic and retail sales growth in the first quarter of 2012,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “While retailers will wait until the end of April to gauge the success of the spring shopping season, it’s evident that consumers are holding their own against rising gas prices and other economic concerns.”

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers’ sales increased 3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 12.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year; and clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 12.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Additionally, spring goods, hobby, book and music stories’ sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year; while furniture and home furnishings stores’ sales increased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 7.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the NRF also found.

Overall March retail sales released by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed total retail sales increasing 0.8 percent adjusted month-to-month and 7.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the NRF noted in its report.

“Moderate retail sales in March will help to offset murkier recent economic employment data,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “We expect to see gains through the all important summer months, but job and weak income growth coupled with stubbornly high gas costs will continue to force consumers to make tough, price-sensitive choices.”

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