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March retail sales decline by 0.9%
Apr '08
While consumers continue to battle high gas, energy and food prices, retailers reported a dip in March retail sales.

According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for March (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) dipped 0.9 percent unadjusted over last year and were down 0.3 percent from the prior month.

March retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month and increased 0.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Unseasonably cooler weather created a challenging sales environment for many apparel retailers last month,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “With the earliest Easter in 95 years, the calendar shift will likely impact April sales as well. In order to get a true picture of retail performance, we will need to look at both March and April sales combined.”

Many retailers felt the brunt of the troubled economy as well. Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales decreased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and 2.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 1.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

The weak housing market once again had a negative effect on the home furnishing and home improvement categories. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and 10.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

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