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Weekly Sales Pick Up, ICSC Says

Apparel and department stores among winners for period.

Continuing cool weather failed to keep shoppers out of stores last week, leading to a small sequential gain in sales and a larger year-on-year increase.

The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs tabulation of chain store sales for the week ended Saturday was up just 0.4 percent from the prior week but rose 3.1 percent versus the comparable week of 2013.

The year-on-year increase marks three consecutive weeks in which sales have increased at least 3 percent, following a matching increase of 3.1 percent for the final week of May and 3 percent for the first week of June. On a sequential basis, the increase is only the second in the past seven weeks.

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The increases came despite another period of unseasonably cool weather in which temperatures ran 2.4 degrees cooler than a year ago and 0.3 degrees below their long-term average.

Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC, said that sales were up “appreciably” at apparel and department stores, as well as at dollar, furniture, discount and office stores. Wholesale clubs continued to enjoy the strongest gains.

“The good news is that despite some unfavorable seasonal weather, consumers were still out shopping during this past week,” he said.

ICSC expects same-store sales for June to increase 3.5 percent when retailers report results early next month. Prior-year comparisons will be more difficult than in May, when comps rose 4.6 percent.