Retailers report modest gains for April


By Anne D’Innocenzio

AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans spent briskly during the early spring months in the latest sign that they’re encouraged by the economic recovery.

Falling gas prices, a rallying stock market and gains in the job market all fueled Americans’ shopping habits even as cold weather tempered their desire to buy spring fashions.

Revenue at stores open at least a year — an industry measure of a store’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened and closed — rose 4.7 percent in April compared with the same month a year ago, according to a preliminary tally of 12 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers trade group.

That continues a trend that Americans started in early spring. In March, revenue rose 2.2 percent. And for the combined months of March and April, the figure rose 3.5 percent.

“April turned out to be decent despite adverse weather conditions,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the ICSC.

While big chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp and Macy’s Inc. don’t report monthly revenue, the stores that do offer economists a snapshot of consumer spending habits. In total, the retailers that report monthly data represent about 6 percent of the $2.4 trillion in U.S. retail industry sales.

Among the big winners for April were Ross Stores Inc. and TJX Cos., which operates TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores. Both companies benefited from Americans’ desire to buy brand-name fashions at discounted prices.

Ross said on Thursday that revenue at stores open at least a year rose 7 percent during April, helped by consumer demand for its low-price clothing and accessories. That’s above Wall Street estimates: Analysts expected a 5.8 percent increase in April, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

TJX said that revenue at stores opened at least a year climbed 8 percent in April on strong customer traffic. That also tops the 6.8 percent increase that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

“Consumers responded to our extremely fresh selections of branded spring apparel,” said Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of TJX in a statement.

But a few retailers posted gains that missed Wall Street estimates.

Costco Wholesale Corp., which accounts for about two-thirds of the retail sales tally, reported that revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 4 percent in April. That’s below the 4.5 percent increase analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the warehouse club-operator to report.

Limited posted a 2 percent increase in revenue at stores opened at least a year. Revenue was hurt by the shift of some spring-break business into March due to an early Easter.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Spectrum reports TV streaming app service issues
Spectrum reports TV streaming app service issues

Spectrum customers are reporting service interruptions while attempting to use the Spectrum TV app, the company said on Friday afternoon. “Spectrum customers are experiencing a service interruption while attempting to use the Spectrum TV App. This is causing errors including incorrect login information. Technicians are working diligently to restore...
Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate
Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

The monthly membership fee for Amazon Prime rose Friday from $10.99 to $12.99. Company officials said the annual membership will remain at $99 dollars. Monthly customers do not get access to Amazon Video, which costs $8.99 a month. The last Prime subscription hike came in 2014, when Amazon increased its yearly membership from $79 to $99. The e-commerce...
Starbucks testing out stores that do not accept cash
Starbucks testing out stores that do not accept cash

Starbucks is testing out a cashless checkout in stores nationwide. As of Tuesday, one downtown Seattle store accepts only cards or mobile payments, according to a report from KIRO-7. The coffee chain is receiving mixed reviews from customers, some who like the convenience while others worry about privacy issues. Robert Safian, editor of Fast Company...
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)

Too much clutter, too little money, too many gifts you didn't like... an eBay auction is one of the simplest solutions to all three issues. If your trash might be someone else's treasure, an eBay business is simple to start and accessible to just about anyone. "It has low start-up costs and it can be started out of your home," noted the ...
Moldy comforter among latest product recalls
Moldy comforter among latest product recalls

The latest product recalls include a potentially moldy comforter, an unstable bassinette, and snow globes that could potentially cause a fire, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.    The Hudson comforters by UGG under recall were sold at Bed Bath & Beyond and may contain mold which could pose a risk of infection or respiratory...
More Stories