Two surveys report growth in retail sales

Sales at U.S. chain stores grew at a brisk clip last week, bolstered by sales of jewelry for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday and by strong demand for spring clothing, a report said on Tuesday.

Sales rose 2.1% in the week ended May 3 compared with the prior week’s 1.6% loss, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg said in a joint report. Compared with the prior year, sales for the week increased by 2.5%.

“Mother’s Day helped to lift jewelry and women’s apparel demand over the last week while warmer weather than during the same period of the prior year reinforced demand for some seasonal apparel,” the report said.

The BTM/UBSW Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot is compiled from a group of major discount, department and chain stores across the country that report their weekly results. The BTM/UBSW index measures sales growth with the year 1977 equaling 100.

Meanwhile, chain-store sales rose 2.2% last week from a year earlier, Instinet Research said in its weekly Redbook report.

Instinet said April sales were 1.9% higher than a year earlier, but missed its target of 2.9% growth.

“The week’s improvement was mainly due to improved demand for apparel and accessories,” Instinet said. “Our retail sample ended April on a disappointing note.”

The report added that retailers said warmer weather throughout the country also supported sales.

The Redbook Average is compiled from a sample of general merchandise retailers representing about 9,000 stores.

The index is released weekly by Instinet Research, a division of Instinet, a Reuters-owned electronic brokerage.