Target and Gap outsold expectations in the warmest March in more than 50 years, which helpd boost demand for spring products and speed up Easter shopping.
Higher-than-expected March sales increases at Target Corp. and Gap Inc. surprised analysts, and appear related to unusually warm weather that helped sell spring merchandise.
Based on same-store sales (sales at stores open at least a year), revenues at Gap, the biggest U.S. clothing chain, were up 8 percent, beating average analyst expectations of 4.6 percent, said research firm Retail Metrics Inc.
Sales at Target, the second largest U.S. discount chain, were up 7.3 percent, beating expectations of 5.7 percent.
In department stores, Macy's Inc. reported that same-store sales were up 7.3 percent in March, beating analyst estimates of a 4.8 percent increase.
Adrienne Tennant, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, said the warm weather boosted demand for spring products, and helped speed up shopping in advance of Easter.
Last month was the warmest March in North America in more than 50 years, according to Planalytics, a provider of weather data.
Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553