Retail chain store sales in April slumped 2.4 percent from one year ago, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The one month decline was the largest since the 50-year old organization started tracking monthly sales. Though department stores sales fell 4.5 percent, a bright spot was luxury goods stores, which saw 4.3 percent growth.
Other reports confirmed April’s weakness at retail, with the U.S. Commerce Department reporting total sales were up 3.1 percent from last year, but decreased 0.2 percent from the previous month.
Analysts blame the larger-than-expected slump on extreme weather, rising gas prices and an early Easter.