March Retail Sales Fall Flat
Easter partly to blame as chains fall short of expectations
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 10, 2008 11:29 AM CDT
Customers leave a Gap store in downtown San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – Retailers’ same-store sales were flat in March, due in part to an early Easter, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Thomson Financial Same Store Sales Index, projected to sink 0.1%, fell 1.1%, excluding Wal-Mart. Shoppers weren’t ready to buy for spring on the heels of winter, store closings for the holiday reduced sales, and consumer sentiment his a five-year low amid still-rising fuel prices.

Because of the holiday, which warped results, some say consumer confidence will be clearer after April. Among the hardest-hit stores was Gap, which saw an 18% drop in same-store sales, more than twice the fall analysts predicted. Wal-Mart posted a .7% increase excluding fuel, on the low side of its expectations, while Target, Kohl’s, and Stage Stores all reported same-store sales that fell below predictions.