By Christina Cheddar Berk, News Editor NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- What's next? Retailers turned in very solid gains in March, but the big question now is: can the momentum continue? If you exclude the drug stores, the Thomson Reuters Same-Store Index rose 6.8% in March. That's well above the monthly same-store gains of 3% to 5% recorded throughout 2011. "You are seeing the momentum that kicked off in February continue in March," said Adrianne Shapira, a broadlines retail analyst at Goldman Sachs.
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"Hearing good news perpetuates more good news," he said. Friedman expects that teen apparel retailers such as Zumiez ( ZUMZ) will benefit from teenagers' increased spending power, and he expects shoppers to head back to department stores such as Macy's after years of shopping at discount stores. He also is watching JC Penney ( JCP) "very closely" because the changes they are making in their business to reduce the number of promotions and focus on everyday low prices. "It could be the most refreshing thing in the marketplace if they are successful," he said. Even if sales come in at a relatively slower pace in April, Shapira expects that retailers have already scored a huge win. Because when shoppers come into the stores early in the season, they are buying more clothing at full price, and that means higher profit margins. "The sooner you move it, the less you have to markdown," she said. And the proof of this was seen in the increased forecasts from retailers such as Target and TJX. --Written by Christina Cheddar Berk at CNBC.