Sales picked up on both a year-on-year and sequential basis last week.


The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs’ chain store sales index rose 3.9 percent during the week ended Oct. 4 when compared to its year-ago counterpart and eked out a 0.1 percent gain over the prior week.


“Weather was favorable for seasonal apparel demand, as temperatures cooled some nationally,” said Michael Niemira, research consultant for ICSC, who expects September sales to rise a “very strong” 5 to 6 percent.


Niemira characterized business as “very strong” for apparel stores as well as wholesale clubs, discounters, dollar stores and electronics retailers but “relatively flat” at department stores and weak at grocery stores and office stores.


According to Weather Trends International, temperatures for the week were 0.9 degrees colder than during last year’s week but 1.9 degrees warmer than their long-term average.


WTI said the weather was the coolest for the end of September since 2009, helping sales of jackets and sweaters.


Gas prices also encouraged purchasing, falling 5.5 cents a gallon, on average, from the prior week and at their lowest level since Feb. 3.

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