WASHINGTON (MNI) – The following is the commentary from the
ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot released Tuesday:

Weekly retail sales for March continue to roar like a lion as
retail sales increased for the second consecutive week. Overall, for the
week ending March 12, weekly retail sales rose by 0.1 percent, according
to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index. In addition,
on a year-over-year basis, retail sales continued to increase and grew
to 3.1 percent.

“Customer traffic was relatively steady over the last weekbased on
the ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking surveys–but compositionally
demand shifted towards drug stores, dollar stores and wholesale clubs,”
said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief
economist. “The latest week’s consumer spending shift seemingly was more
value driven and some of the discretionary segments, such as apparel and
department stores were somewhat weaker,” Niemira added.

For March, ICSC Research expects comparable-store sales will be
flat to up to 2.0 percent as the Easter shift (April 4, 2010 verse April
24, 2011) will cause a “big drag” on sales despite the widespread
improvements in labor markets, economic conditions and the reduction in
the payroll tax — which collectively are more than offsetting the
potentially negative drag from high fuel and rising food prices on the
consumers’ market basket.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **