Consumer Nation

Will Retail's Bloom Fade in April?

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Retailers turned in very solid gains in March, but the big question now is: can the momentum continue?

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If you exclude the drug stores, the Thomson Reuters Same-Store Index rose 6.8 percent in March. That’s well above the monthly same-store gains of 3 percent to 5 percent recorded throughout 2011.

“You are seeing the momentum that kicked off in February continue in March,” said Adrianne Shapira, a broadlines retail analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Although the early spring weather, which prompted shoppers to buy shorts and T-shirts earlier than normal, was a help in March, Shapira said there were other factors at play, including a strong apparel trend toward colorful clothing, particularly denim, and the early timing of Easter.

"So we're seeing the sustainability of some current trends, and that's encouraging," Shapira said.