Apparel stores were among the beneficiaries last week as retail sales registered their second largest gain of 2015 on a year-over-year basis.
According to The Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index, retail sales for the week ended April 11 registered an index value of 591.7, their highest mark since the weekly reading was initiated with a value of 100 in 1977.
The figure was 3.8 percent higher than the year-ago level, the best year-on-year gain since the week ended Jan. 3, when they were up 3.9 percent.
The sequential increase was more modest — 1 percent ahead of the week ended April 4.
Figures have been seasonally adjusted to reflect the earlier timing of Easter, which tended to pull sales into March at the expense of April revenues. Easter this year took place on April 5, 15 days earlier than in 2014.
“The post-Easter retail business was more robust than expected and may have been helped by the warm weather in the Southeast,” said Michael Niemira, principal and chief economist of The Retail Economist LLC. “Dollar store business was particularly strong over the past week.”
Other channels with substantial gains last week included discounters and office supply stores, while apparel and non-apparel specialty stores joined wholesale clubs and drug stores in registering results that were “up notably.”
Despite warmer temperatures in the Southeast, the average temperature was 0.8 degrees warmer than a year ago but 3 degrees cooler than the long-term average, according to Weather Trends International.
The U.S. Energy Administration reported that gasoline prices declined slightly from the prior week and were 34 percent below their year-ago level at $2.408 a gallon.