ICSC just released its same-store sales figures (password needed) for April and it looks like it has been a very strong month. In ICSC estimates, same-store sales growth reached 8.5 percent last month, far above the growth posted in the previous three months of the year.
What seemed particularly heartening was that apparel stores were among the outperformers this time, with same-store sales growth for the sector reaching 11.9 percent. Other sectors that came in strong included wholesale clubs, with growth of 11.6 percent, discount stores, with growth of 10.9 percent and department stores, with growth of 8.9 percent.
ICSC's numbers were based on a tally of 28 retailers that have already reported and did not include same-store sales figures from Wal-Mart, the country's largest chain. Target, Wal-Mart's main competitor, reported same-store sales growth of 13.1 percent.
Same-store sales figures from Kantar Retail were nearly identical to ICSC's. The Columbus, Ohio-based research firm reported that its April sales-weighted composite gain reached 8.7 percent, far above the 2.5 percent figure reported for March. Kantar Retail tracked 27 retail chains, primarily apparel sellers.
Kantar's researchers continue to be concerned about the effect rising fuel prices will have on same-store sales growth going forward.
The impact of rising fuel prices will become more obvious in the months ahead, but just how obvious depends on how much job and income gains also suffer under the weight of rising fuel prices and economic uncertainty,” said Frank Badillo, senior economist with Kantar Retail.
Retail Metrics, a Swampscott, Mass.-based firm that tracks retail sales, plans to release its numbers early next week.