By  on August 5, 2014

Retailers concluded July with two consecutive weeks of strong year-on-year gains.

The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs reported that sales in the week ended Saturday rose 4.5 percent over those of the comparable 2013 week, just slightly below the 4.6 percent pick-up registered during the prior week.

Sales rose 0.2 percent from the prior week, just as they did during the week ended July 26.

“The fiscal month sustained a strong pace of 4.1 percent overall,” said Michael Niemira, research consultant for ICSC. “There were 12 states that had a sales tax holiday during the week, which helped propel back-to-school sales.”

Performance at wholesale clubs during the week was classified as “very strong” with “brisk” business at department and apparel stores, as well as discount, dollar, drug and electronic stores. All were helped by the demand for b-t-s merchandise, ICSC said.

Retailers might have also gotten some help in selling their wares from a decline in prices for gasoline, which were, on average, 2.4 cents lower than in the prior week, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

With the exception of a 0.4 percent decline in sequential sales the week of July 19, both year-on-year and sequential sales have been positive in the ICSC tabulation since the week of June 7.

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