Top US retailers report March sales dropWednesday, 15 April 2009
Sales at Wal-Mart rose by 1.4% for the month, worse than had been forecast. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said its disappointing sales were down to the late Easter this year. "Based on the initial strength of our sales this week, we expect Easter to drive April sales performance," said Wal-Mart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright.
Rival discounter Target saw sales drop, as did warehouse operator Costco, but both performed better than analysts had expected. Department stores Macy's and JC Penney also saw sales drop, but again by less than had been forecast.
Luxury goods were hardest hit, with sales down by 20.3%, according to the ICSC. Department and clothing stores also saw big falls.
All the figures from the retailers and from the ICSC are like-for-like sales, which do not take into account sales from new stores opened in the previous 12 months. "Given the deluge of negative news we have seen in the retail space over the last several months, [the figures have] got to be encouraging," Ken Perkins at Retail Metrics said.
The ICSC said that the late Easter had a negative impact on the sales figures, and that a clearer picture of US consumer spending would emerge when looking at March and April's figures together.
Founded in 1957, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) is the global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its 70,000 members in the U.S., Canada and more than 80 other countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, lenders, retailers and other professionals as well as academics and public officials. As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping center councils throughout the world.
Image: Wal-Mart logo