NEW YORK – Retail sales, as measured by the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index grew 3.0% in the week ended March 3, according to the report, released Tuesday.

Month-to-date, March was up 3.0% compared to March 2011 (relative to a revised target of a 3.3% gain). Month-over-month showed a 0.1% gain compared to February (relative to a target of a 0.4% gain).

“Retailers said their business was negatively affected by several tornados across the central and southern U.S. this weekend; snapped power lines, disrupted traffic and closed stores suppressed demand for spring merchandise,” according to the report. “Despite the slower start to March, retailers are looking in particular for improvement in seasonal business as warmer weather draws closer. The Easter weekend falls two weeks earlier than it did last year, causing some Easter shopping to fall into March this year. Discounters saw steady volume in consumables and other basic items.”

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