Shoppers slow down in April

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail sales posted the eighth straight monthly gain in April, but increases were weak after March's data posted the biggest jump on record.

Sales tracker Thomson Reuters, which looks at monthly same-store sales for 28 chains, said Thursday that April sales increased 0.5% over last year. Thomson had expected a 1.7% increase.

Of the 28 retailers, 69% missed Thomson's expectations; 27% beat; and 4% matched.

Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are a key indicator of retailers' performance. The data are also important to the overall recovery, since consumer spending fuels two-thirds of the economy.

The weakness in April data was in sharp contrast to the previous month. March's report showed sales increased 9.1% over last year, the biggest monthly gain since Thomson began keeping records in 2000.

The March data got a boost from unusually warm weather, Easter shopping and improved consumer confidence, Thomson said in its report. The calendar shifted the Easter holiday to March this year.

"For year-over-year comp[arisons], it's essential to average the results of [March and April] to get a smoother representation of how the Easter months fared," the Thomson report said, noting the two-month average is a "robust" 4.8% gain.

Teen apparel stores posted the biggest misses in April. That included alternative clothing store Hot Topic (HOTT), which reported sales were down 12.5%, while Thomson expected only a 7.9% drop. The Buckle (BKE) posted a 5.7% decline, while expectations were for a 1.7% jump.

Membership warehouse club Costco (COST, Fortune 500) was among the bright spots, with an 11% gain, but it missed estimates for an increase of 11.2%. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,827.75 12.81 0.07%
Nasdaq 4,787.32 29.07 0.61%
S&P 500 2,072.83 5.80 0.28%
Treasuries 2.23 -0.03 -1.15%
Data as of 11:25am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Kinder Morgan Inc 42.32 0.00 0.00%
Apple Inc 119.00 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 77.62 1.99 2.63%
Pfizer Inc 31.10 0.00 0.00%
Bank of America Corp... 17.11 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Nov 26

Sections

The European Parliament has voted to break up Google and weaken its dominance across the region. More

At malls and department stores across America, the faithful are lining up and camping out for deals. More

Two pilots encountered drones while flying over college football games and another pilot saw one while flying over the Hollywood sign. More

Natalie's Cakes and More has raised $84,000 through GoFundMe after protests trash store. More

Retailers are promising big deals this Black Friday, but are the savings actually worth the shopping mayhem? Test your deal-sniffing skills. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.