March retail sales down 1% blizzard, economy blamed

EARNINGS

April 14, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Consumers cut spending at retail counters by 1 percent in March, the biggest monthly decline in more than two years, the Commerce Department said yesterday in a report that was considerably weaker than expected.

Although the mid-month blizzard that paralyzed much of the Northeast and South was widely acknowledged to have had an adverse impact, government and private analysts said there was little doubt that the poor sales results also suggested a further slackening of economic growth.

Yesterday's report also included a revision for February sales; a month ago, the department estimated they had risen by three-tenths of 1 percent, but yesterday it said they had declined by that much.

"This is a rather disturbing report," Donald H. Straszheim, a top economist at Merrill Lynch, said, adding that the widespread nature of the declines indicated that the drop could not be entirely attributed to foul weather.

Analysts had generally expected retail sales to remain unchanged for March after allowing for the usual seasonal and holiday variations.

The Clinton administration pounced on the data to argue the urgency of its $16.3 billion economic stimulus package, bogged down in the Senate by Republican opposition.

The sales report, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown contended, "provides compelling evidence that recovery is at risk unless decisive action is taken when Congress returns next week."

Mr. Brown pointed out that retail sales, which account for one-third of economic activity, had not fallen for two straight months in almost two years and that sales, at a seasonally adjusted $166.9 billion in March, have slipped back to the lowest level since September.

Bob Dole, the Senate Republican leader, responded by accusing the administration of a "snow job" in seeking to convince the public that a weather-related sales decline could be dealt with through additional government spending.

"If anything, consumers are getting more and more worried about being buried under a record-breaking blizzard of new taxes," Mr. Dole said.

Citizens

Bancorp.. .. .. .. .. .. ..Ticker.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Yesterday's .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Symbol.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Cls... .. ..Chg.

.. .. .. .. .. . .. ... CIBC .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..24 1/4 .. .. ..+ 1/4 Period ended

Mar. 31 .. .. .. .. .. ...1st qtr.. .. .. ..Year ago.. .. ... .. Chg.

Net Income.. .. .. .. .. $6,843 .. .. .. ..$5,307 .. .. .. .. ..+28.9%

Primary EPS .. .. .. .. .. $0.47 .. .. .. .. $0.37 .. .. .. .. ..+27.0%

Annualized return

on avg. assets .. .. .. .. 0.84% .. .. .. ..0.70%

Add. to allowance

for loan losses .. .. .. ..$3,945 .. .. .. ..$2,988 .. .. .. .. .+32.0%

.. .. .. ... .. .. .. ... .. Balances as of

.. .. .. ... .. .. .. .. 3/31/93 .. .. .. .. .. .3/31/92

Assets .. .. .. .. .. .. $3,244,121.. .. .. .. .. $3,243,206.. .. +0.03%

Deposits .. .. .. .. .. .$2,830,709 .. .. .. .. ..$2,838,203.. .. .-0.26%

Loans outst.. .. .. .. . $1,680,361 .. .. .. ... .$1,675,878.. .. .+0.27%

Loan loss

reserve .. .. .. .. .. ..$25,034.. .. .. .. .. .. $24,058 .. .. .. +4.1%

Figures in thousands (except per share data.)

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