Retail sales: March comes in like a lion

U.S. retail sales for the week ending March 6 increased by 8.6% over the same week in 2003, according to ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE). This performance helped the retail industry to maintain the momentum built by an extremely strong month of February that saw sales jump by 17.4% from same month last year.

ShopperTrak also reported that week-over-week sales for the period ending March 6 declined by a slight 0.5% from the final week in February.

“While the fact that March sales have started out quite strong is very encouraging, retailers would be well served to take a cautious approach to the balance of the month,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers. “Early spring weather can be quite unpredictable and wet or cold weather could certainly have an adverse impact on retail sales.”

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.