Maudlin Month of March

David Bodamer April 10th, 2008

According to ICSC's data, released this morning, chain stores suffered through their worst March since 1995 with same-store sales falling 0.5 percent (membership req.)

Easter was April 8 last year and March 23 this year. The report suggests that a lot of Easter sales will be pushed into April this year because of the shift. I'm not sure I understand that. Wouldn't the sales have been earlier because of the earlier date of Easter? Shouldn't March have been stronger, not weaker?

Last year's extremely strong March — when same-store sales rose 5.9 percent compared with March 2006 — was attributed to Easter moving from April 16 to April 8, which moved more Easter-related sales into March. Subsequently, in April 2007, same-store sales plummeted 2.4 percent compared with April 2006. That made April 2007 the worst month in ICSC's database, which goes back to 1970. Again, the results were attributed to the earlier date of Easter, which pushed more Easter sales into March from April.

To see the full entry — and follow the links — go to the Traffic Court blog at blog.retailtrafficmag.com/retail_traffic_court/.