NEW YORK — March comparable-store sales results got off to an inauspicious start Wednesday as war worries, economic troubles, cold temperatures, a late Easter and a lack of must-have items combined to keep consumers at home.

Retail executives and analysts said they are hoping April will supply a greatly needed pickup in sales, as the weather warms and people augment their wardrobes in time for Easter on April 20, three weeks later than a year ago.

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