NEW YORK – Retail sales rose 3.8% in the week ended March 24, after a 3.6% the week before, according to the weekly retail sales report released by Johnson Redbook Wednesday.

Month-to-date, March is up 3.4% from March 2011, better than the 3.3% expected. Month-over-month March grew 0.5% from February, also slightly above the 0.4% increase projected.

“Sales in the fourth week of March were driven by a combination of seasonal demand for spring merchandise and interest in Easter related merchandise,” according to the report. “Spring officially began on March 20th; students on spring break during this period also helped to give sales and traffic an extra boost. Spring business, which focused on seasonal apparel and outdoor categories, was aided by warm weather in many parts of the country. Easter buying continued to show its traditional territorial bias, and was more intense in the southern states.”

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