13964 Thu, 03/06/2008 - 12:55pm
NEW YORK–Department stores continued to drag down the retail sector in March, posting comparable-store sales declines that averaged 5.8 percent during the month. The figure excludes Macy’s, which has ceased reporting comp-store sales as of February.
Discounters, warehouse club chains and off-price merchants fared better, recording an average monthly gain of 2.2 percent in March.
Wal-Mart and its Sam’s Club warehouse division, J.C. Penney and Dillard’s singled out home as among their weakest-performing categories during the month. Although Bon-Ton posted one of the steepest comp-store sales declines of 7.2 percent of its department store peers, the retailer said furniture and hard home performed well.
For the third month in a row, Wal-Mart eclipsed Target, recording a 3.0 percent comp-store sales gain compared with the upscale discounter’s 0.5 percent increase, reversing Target’s longtime monthly sales lead.
Overall, retailers are tightening their inventory levels in face of the weak economy.