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U.S. Retailers Benefit From Warmer April As Sales Bounce Back


NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - Spring was in full swing for some U.S. retailers, with shoppers spending again in April after the weather warmed up.

A number of large U.S. retailers, including Costco Wholesale Corp and Victoria's Secret parent L Brands Inc, reported April comparable sales above expectations, helped in part by a later Easter that pushed sales from March, and the end of a harsh winter that had kept many shoppers at home.

A group of nine retailers - which does not include giants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc,Target Corp and Best Buy Co - reported a 5.6 percent increase in April comparable sales, better than the 4.1 percent rise analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters' same-store sales index.

"The April performance was strong and suggested that pent-up demand helped," said Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Clothing stores Gap Inc and American Apparel Inc will report sales results after U.S. markets close.

There were hopeful signs for retailers after months of heavy discounting that slammed sales and profit margins in winter.