Chilly weather in the Northeast and Midwest helped accelerate purchases of seasonal apparel last week, lifting overall sales 3.8 percent over their 2013 counterpart.
However, the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs’ index of weekly chain store stores fell 0.7 percent during the week ended Saturday in comparison to those of the prior week.
Despite the sequential decline, Michael Niemira, research consultant for ICSC, said he expects a year-on-year increase of between 3.5 and 4.5 percent for the month of October.
Apparel stores and wholesale clubs were the strongest channel performers last week, with activity at department, discount, dollar, drug and furniture stores also categorized as “strong.”
“With gasoline prices at their lowest point nationally since mid-November, discretionary spending should remain healthy,” Niemira said.
The more seasonal conditions in the Northeast and Midwest helped offset weaker seasonal demand in other regions of the country, where temperatures remained above average. Weather Trends International said that average temperatures throughout the country were 1.1 degree warmer than during the comparable period in 2013 and 2 degrees warmer than their long-term average, reducing demand for outerwear, sweaters and other cold-weather apparel and accessories.
Gasoline prices were 9 cents lower on a per-gallon basis than in the prior week.