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Today’s retail sales data showed some continuing signs of strength in consumer trends.  ICSC chain store sales jumped 3.4% year over year while Redbook reported a 3.1% jump.  The two reports are taking a bit of opposing stances on the data, however.   Redbook says the report is a disappointment and now sees March sales at just 0.7%.  Michael Niemira, ICSC’s Chief Economist says the sales are a good sign and boosted his March forecast for sales to 2.5%-3.5% from 2.5%:

“To paraphrase the old saw, March sales started off like a lion as better weather got consumers motivated about spring-related merchandise.”

Government retail sales data is out this Friday and it is certain to be a big market mover.  Early readings show robust signs of consumer sales (when compared to last year’s easy comps) and could bode well for this Friday’s report which is expected to come in at -0% (MoM) ex-autos.  Of course, while this might appear like good near-term news the verdict is still very much out regarding the long-term.  With much de-leveraging to be done the potential for further consumer belt tightening is likely.

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