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Springlike weather in much of the country has boosted sales in early April at some of the nation's top retailers, weekly sales figures indicate.

Following a dismal March, which saw unseasonably cool weather

dent sales of spring merchandise, sales rebounded in the first week of April at Bentonville, Ark.-based



, the country's largest retailer. Same-store sales figures, which gauge activity in shops open at least a year, were slightly above plan last week, the company said Monday. The company said that both store traffic and the average price of items purchased rose substantially; it attributed the gains to warm weather. The company says it plans for a 3% to 5% increase in comparable-store sales in April.

Shares recently traded at $49.50, down 20 cents.

Also benefiting from the arrival of spring was

J.C. Penney


, which said its same-department store sales were above plans for a slight decrease. Same-store sales at the company's drugstore division were on target for a high-single-digit increase. But catalog sales lagged behind plans for a high-single-digit to low-double-digit decline. Shares in the Plano, Texas-based retailer were lately off a penny at $17.75.

Meanwhile, same-store sales at Troy, Mich.-based



, the other top retailer that reports weekly sales, were on plan for a 1% to 3% increase in April. Shares were off six cents at $8.86.