After several months of strong retail sales, shoppers appeared more cautious about spending in April as rainy weather and fresh worries about the economy curbed people's urge to shop.
Major chain stores posted a 0.8% sales increase in April compared with the same month a year earlier, falling short of analysts' expectations of a slightly better 1.5% rise, according to Thomson Reuters' tally of 20 retailers.
Top performers were a mixture of high- and low-end stores. Action-sports chain Zumiez Inc. led the way with a 10.1% bump. Luxury retailer Nordstrom Inc. saw sales rise 7.1%. Benefiting from a continuing thrifty mindset, off-price retailer Ross Stores Inc. reported a strong 7% increase and TJX Cos. saw a 6% rise. Limited Brands, parent company of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, said sales rose 6%.
Other retailers did not fare as well. Struggling teen clothier Wet Seal said sales fell 9.6%, while department store chain Kohl's Corp. reported a 3.5% drop.