MARCH SALES TREND MIXED
Byline: Kristi Ellis
WASHINGTON — Apparel retail sales rebounded in the New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland districts in March and early April, but remained weak in most other areas, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report revealed Wednesday.
Overall, retail sales held steady or rose moderately in March and early April, with Philadelphia and Richmond reporting sales increases, and Cleveland, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Kansas City reporting sales above year-ago levels. Retail sales were weakest in the Dallas district.
In the New York district, “sales of women’s apparel have remained fairly strong in recent weeks and there has been some rebound in men’s apparel,” the Beige Book said.
Manhattan department stores reported that business has rebounded to levels before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Discounters had modest gains, while general-merchandise stores reported flat sales on a year-over-year basis.
Apparel sales in the Philadelphia district strengthened after a slowdown during the winter months, but some merchants said sales of spring clothing were slightly below plan.
Retail sales in the Minneapolis district were mixed,