Retail sales down sharply due to calendar shift

ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) reported that U.S. retail sales for the week ending April 17 fell by a dramatic 23.2% from the same week in 2003. Sales were hurt, to an extent, by lagging post-Easter consumer demand, but experts warned that due to a calendar shift between Easter this year and 2003, data from the next two weeks must also be carefully examined in order to gain a truer representation of April’s retail environment.

“The shift in the date of Easter relative to last year makes the period sales difficult to read,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers. “It will take another couple of weeks to really assess the trends in the NRSE.”

ShopperTrak also reported a 15.1% decline in weekly sales for the period ending April 17, as compared to the previous week ending April 10.

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.