P.M. BRIEFING : Retail Sales Bounce Back

From Times Wire Services

Retail sales generally rebounded in April as consumers returned to stores to shop for Easter and spring items, several of the nation’s biggest retailers reported today.

Many retailers who had a dismal March posted better results last month. Woolworth Corp., whose sales plummeted in March compared to a year earlier, had a 21.1% sales gain in April.

Shoppers again spent most of their money on apparel and lower-priced items while generally shying away from more expensive purchases. Consumers remained burdened by high installment debt and were again cautious about major expenditures.

Sears, Roebuck & Co., the nation’s largest retailer, reported a 3.1% increase over April, 1989. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. again outdistanced other retailers, reporting a 7% increase. J. C. Penney Co. Inc. had a disappointing month after a much stronger March. Its sales fell 2.8%.