–Sample Points To March Gains Outside Top Estimates
By Mark Pender
NEW YORK (MNI) – MNI’s retail trade index rose seven-tenths in the
April 10 period to 59.9, well above break-even 50 to indicate
significant year-on-year rates of growth for what is proving to be a
resilient U.S. retail sector, according to Market News International’s
weekly survey released Monday.
MNI’s data, as they have all year, point to unexpectedly strong
gains for Commerce Department data, not only for March but for April as
Adjusted month-to-month indications from this sample of 131 chains
consisting of 93,900 retail locations point to a 2.5% increase for total
March sales compared to an outside estimate of 2.1%.
Ex-auto, the sample points to a 1.5% rise compared to an outside
estimate of 0.9%. For ex-auto ex-gas, this sample points to a 0.5%
increase which would be the third straight gain and the seventh in eight
months, the latter a reminder that retail sales are at the center of the
nation’s economic recovery.
Total year-on-year sales for March, at +5.1%, came in right at
target while same-store sales, at +3.6%, well exceeded the +2.0% target.
Total sales for April are targeted at +3.0% with same-store sales at
Distribution of strength in the sample is very deep with 30%
posting significant rates of year-on-year sales growth compared to only
13% posting significant contraction. Depth also appears on the income
side where 62% are posting gains and 29% posting declines. Income is at
a year-on-year +41%.
Of all the company indications that March’s strength may be more
than just a calendar distortion, Haverty (HVT), which operates in the
hard-hit furniture sector, posted March-quarter sales of +8.2% with
same-store sales at +10.1%.
Again, these gains include not only March but span February and
January as well, two months that proved very strong for the retail
In contrast, Haverty’s total December-quarter sales, despite an
equally easy year-ago comparison, were only +0.4% with same-store sales
+2.0%. Haverty operates 119 stores.
Editor’s Note: MNI compiles its retail trade index based on a
weekly sample of company news and data.
** Market News International New York Newsroom: 212-669-6430 **