Despite lousy weather, shoppers still found reason to buy.

NEW YORK — Market News International's weekly retail trade index dropped yet again, hovering at 49.1 on June 4 compared with 51 the week prior. The index, which measures business sentiment among apparel, home, electronics, general merchandise,...

NEW YORK — Market News International’s weekly retail trade index dropped yet again, hovering at 49.1 on June 4 compared with 51 the week prior. The index, which measures business sentiment among apparel, home, electronics, general merchandise, specialized and automotive retailers and restaurants, has dropped for the past three weeks.

“Cold weather, not high gas prices, was the chief complaint among retailers in May,” said Mark Pender, author of MNI’s report. “Bad weather has been plaguing much of the sector all year. A lack of a fifth Saturday in this year’s May was another common complaint.”

Retailers such as New York & Co., for example, reported sharp regional variation, with only a 0.6 percent rise in same-store sales over the course of the month.

Lackluster sales plagued many of the retailers and restaurants on the index through both April and May. Though the June 4 reading was a drop in the index, it still demonstrated more optimism than a drab sales period in April. At its lowest point that month, in the period ending April 23, the index dropped to 45.9, mainly due to the Easter holiday. Median year-over-year same-store revenue sank to 2.5 percent from 2.9 percent the two weeks prior, marking the biggest erosion since late January, when the index dipped to 45.5.

This story first appeared in the June 13, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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