Warm weather propels sales for retailers

U.S. shoppers shrugged off rising gasoline prices and opened their wallets in March, spurred by warmer weather and an earlier arrival of Easter.

Discounter Target Corp. (up 7.3 percent), Gap Inc. (up 8.0 percent), Victoria’s Secret parent Limited Brands Inc. (up 8.0 percent) and Macy’s Inc. (up 7.3 percent) all reported better-than-expected comparable store sales.
“March sales were well above our expectations, reflecting a healthy underlying trend combined with the benefit of an earlier Easter and favorable weather this year,” said Target chief executive officer Gregg Steinhafel, a Milwaukee native.
Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. today reported that its March comparable store sales increased 3.6 percent from the same period a year ago.
Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “Warmer weather and an earlier Easter combined to help improve our sales trend, especially in certain regions and businesses. The cold weather regions – Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast – outperformed the company. Children’s apparel, driven by Easter demand, was the strongest business while men’s and women’s apparel also performed well.”
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., today said its comparable store sales decreased 0.1 percent.

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