NEW YORK (
and other retail stocks will be in the spotlight Thursday as the group will be releasing same-store sales results for March, which are expected to be the strongest in three years.
same-store sales index is expected to post a 6.3% increase for March, compared with a 5% rise in March 2009. That would be the best showing since a 7.6% jump in March 2007. Meanwhile, the
expects March to see the best sales results since 1994.
Discount and department stores, such as
, are expected to perform best.
Meanwhile, teen/child apparel stores like
Abercrombie & Fitch
( WTSLA) are expected to see positive comparable store numbers after a very weak March 2009 showing.
Jharonne Martis, director of consumer research at
, said the sharp increase in March sales was fueled by Easter shopping, warm weather, and improved consumer confidence
"Consumers have been in a restrained spending mode for several months, but improved consumer confidence is prompting shoppers to loosen the purse strings after two years," Martis wrote in a sales preview Wednesday. "Historically, when unemployment is high, consumer confidence remains low. Yet, we saw an improvement in consumer sentiment in March."
Investors will also be watching for a handful of earnings reports, with
Pier One Imports
set to post results Thursday.
On the economic front, Thursday will bring the Labor Departments weekly read on initial jobless claims, which is expected to show a decline to 435,000 claims from 439,000 the week before. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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