17 Apr BRIEF: Retail sales nationwide register only modest gain in March
April 17–U.S. retail sales came in below expectations for March, largely because of what was called “extraordinarily” cool weather across much of the country, according to a leading retail group.
The International Council of Shopping Centers reported that retail sales showed a modest gain of 1.6 percent in March on a year-over-year basis.
The council was expecting that sales would be stronger because of an earlier Easter this year (March 31 versus April 8 in 2012), but cool weather put a damper on demand for spring merchandise, the council reported.
“Sales numbers over the past two months have been softer due largely in part to cooler weather patterns,” said Michael Niemira, council vice president of research and chief economist. “I am optimistic that April’s numbers will have a more positive outlook as warmer temperatures should drive demand for seasonal apparel.”
The council is forecasting that sales in April will increase by 2 percent to 3 percent.