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Retail Sales Down In March

4/10/2009 01:01:00 PM Eastern

New York — March retail sales were down for Target and Costco, while BJ’s Wholesale Club inched up slightly.

BJ’s reported a 1.7 percent increase on sales of $870 million for the period ending April 4. Target’s dipped 2.3 percent to $5.5 billion and Costco was down 3 percent to $6.39 billion.

All three suffered from comp-store sale decreases; however, BJ’s stated that when the impact of gasoline sales for the month were subtracted, it was essentially flat for the month. Costo was also negatively impacted by gasoline sales and foreign-exchange issues. When these were not included in the total, its comp-store sales rebounded from a 2 percent loss to a 3 percent gain. Target’s March comp-store sales fell 6.3 percent.

However, Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO, said he is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

"Our guests continue to be cautious, but we have begun to see encouraging signs in the operating results of both of our business segments. In light of the Easter shift and recent trends, we expect our April reported comparable-store sales results to be essentially flat to last year," he said.

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