By  on January 14, 2014

The Polar Vortex in much of the U.S. sent chain store sales to their second decline in as many weeks.

According to the weekly chain store sales index of the International Council of Shopping Center and Goldman Sachs, sales in the week ended Saturday, Jan. 11, were down 1 percent from the prior week.

That decline was smaller than the one registered in the previous week, 5.4 percent.

Sales were up 1.3 percent over the prior-year week, smaller than the 1.7 percent year-on-year increase logged during the week ended Jan. 4.

“The final fiscal month of the retail year began on a soft note as weather continued to dampen the consumer’s ability and willingness to shop,” said Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist of ICSC. “The good news is that gasoline prices were relatively steady, providing little impact on the consumer’s discretionary spending potential.”

ICSC expects comparable-store sales for the month to increase 3 to 3.5 percent over January 2013, slightly below the increase registered in December.

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