Weekly Sales Up Strongly, ICSC Says

Year-on-year increase of 4.1% best in over a year.

U.S. retail sales last week posted their strongest year-on-year advance since last June and also rose on a sequential basis.

According to the weekly chain store sales survey of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs, sales during the week ended June 21 rose 4.1 percent versus the comparable 2013 week and were up 2 percent from their level during the prior week.

The 4.1 percent gain was the best since a 4.3 percent increase during the week ended June 1, 2013. Last week was the second in a row that both year-on-year and sequential sales rose, backing up the respective 3.1 and 0.4 percent increases of the prior seven-day period.

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Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist at ICSC, said business was especially strong at department, discount and dollars stores as well as wholesale clubs. Apparel and furniture stores logged “solid gains.”

“June tends to be the second highest sales volume month of the year, accounting for about 10 percent of annual sales, so the recent strength is encouraging,” he said.

The increases came despite increased prices for gasoline, which on June 23 were an average of 1.8 cents a gallon higher than in the previous week and up 3.6 percent from the comparable week in 2013. However, ICSC said that higher prices at the pump hadn’t appreciably affected discretionary spending.

ICSC continues to expect same-store sales for June among firms that continue to report monthly results to increase 3.5 percent.