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From Home Furnishing Business

NRF: March Retail Sales Show Solid Growth

By Home Furnishings Business in Furniture Retailing on April 2007 An early Easter holiday and unseasonably warm weather in March led to a 3.7 percent increase in retail sales compared to the same month last year, according to the National Retail Federation€™s analysis of figures released Monday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Furniture faired well by the DOC€™s calculation, with furniture and home furnishings sales up 4.2 percent over March 2006.

March retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, also rose 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from February. By the same measure, furniture and home furnishings were up 0.6 percent over February.

€œThe big winners in March were clothing stores, whose shoppers splurged on new spring apparel,€ said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. €œClearly the weather and the early Easter had a desirable impact on retail sales.€

Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales saw the strongest gains with a 10.7 percent increase unadjusted over last year and a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent increase from February. 

General merchandise stores sales also fared well, with a 6.6 percent increase unadjusted from last year and a 1.1 percent increase seasonally adjusted from February.

Building material and garden equipment supplies stores sales continue to decline with unadjusted year-over-year sales falling 5.7 percent. With a little help from the arrival of spring, sales increased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted from February.

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