Retail Same Store Sales For March Truly Anemic

The 11 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters are expected to post 2.2 percent growth in same-store sales for March, the lowest growth since September 2009, reports The Wall Street Journal. Back in 2009, the same-store growth was 1.9 percent and the economy was still dominated by recession reports.

To put that 2.2 percent into context, in March 2012, the same-store figure was 7.1 percent. Looking to 2013, February showed a 3.9 percent same-store sales growth. In short, those March figures are really bad.

The Journal reports that a few retailers fared much better, including Costco (NASDAQ: COST), which saw a 6 percent boost in U.S. same-store sales (minus gas), a hair better than the 5.9 percent that had been expected. And L Brands Inc., the former Limited Brands, saw same-store sales grow 3 percent, when flat results were expected.

"The mass public is still not feeling good about discretionary spending," said Nancy Liu, retail strategist at consulting firm Kurt Salmon. "Gas prices are still high, the job market is still slow to recover, so there is a lack of confidence."

Because of sluggish buying, "on the retailers' side, there could be pressure on inventories that could lead to heavier-than-usual discounting" in late spring and early summer, Liu said.

For more:
-See The Wall Street Journal story

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