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"Historically, Easter week’s increased foot traffic has a huge impact on records, and this year was no exception, with most of the action focused on current hits, like Usher, which had another big week."
——George Deahl, Hastings

RISE OF THE HOUSE OF USHER

Easter Weekend Boosts Sales, as Jessica Simpson, Evanscence, Kenny Chesney, Hoobastank and Hilary Duff Show Major Gains
Record retail experienced a major Easter weekend resurrection, showing buyers have some "Passion" after all.

The market is up approximately 11% vs. last week, 27% over the same week last year, and 6% over Easter week last year (which was week ending March 20).

And while LaFace/ZLG soul star Usher once more topped the charts, sales were busting out all over, with a majority of titles showing double-digit growth.

HastingsGeorge Deahl was ready to walk on water: "Historically, Easter week’s increased foot traffic has a huge impact on records, and this year was no exception, with most of the action focused on current hits, like Usher, which had another big week."

The rest of the Top 10 included Capitol’s Now 15 (#2), Virgin’s Janet Jackson (#3), Columbia/CRG’s Jessica Simpson (#4, up a whopping 52%), Wind-up’s Evanescence (#5), Blue Note’s Norah Jones (#6), BNA’s Kenny Chesney (#7, up 50%), Columbia/CRG’s Lil’ Flip (#8), Geffen’s Guns N’ Roses (#9) and So So Def/ZLG’s J-Kwon (#10).

Added Deahl: "Titles like Now 15, Jessica Simpson and Evanescence all showed huge increases. Maybe we should have Easter every weekend."

Chart newcomers featured Elektra/Atl G’s Tamia (#17), Epic PoMo faves Modest Mouse (#23), BMG Heritage’s Barry Manilow live set (#37), Koch’s American Idol loser-turned-winner William Hung (#39) and Capitol’s Dilated Peoples (#47). Integrity/Columbia’s Passion of the Christ soundtrack (#40) and Interscope’s No Doubt best-of (#46) both returned to the Top 50.

Said Deahl: "Tamia had a solid debut and William Hung was surprisingly strong for someone who sings about as well as I do."

Buena Vista/Hollywood’s Hilary Duff album led the one-week gainers, moving #37-21, with a humongous 105% rise. Other major sales boosts (more than 40%) were registered by Island/IDJ’s Hoobastank (#17-13, +44%), 143/Reprise’s Josh Groban (#22-14, +71%), A&M/Interscope’s Sheryl Crow (#19, +41%), J Records/RMG’s Alicia Keys (#28-20, +77%), Jive/ZLG’s Britney Spears (#26-22, +50%), Capitol’s Yellowcard (#43-27, +59%), Geffen’s Blink 182 (#39-31, +44%), Def Jam South/IDJ’s Ludacris (#50-32, +72%), Columbia/CRG’s Lostprophets (#47-33, +59%) and WB’s Linkin Park (#48-36, +51%).

Concluded Deahl: "Another one of the hottest gainers was Hoobastank, which has been on fire for the last month, rocketing into our Top 10 this week. By the way, what does ‘Hoobastank’ mean?"

Next big release on tap is Bad Boy/Universal’s Mario Winans, hitting retail on April 20.

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