RAPAPORT... U.S. chain-store sales rose 3.2 percent year on year this past week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs. For the week that ended on February 18, the group noted a 3 percent increase in retail sales from the previous seven days.
''Valentine’s Day gifts likely contributed to the better performance this past week as sales volatility continued, but, this time resulting in a strong positive sales performance for retailers,'' said Michael Niemira, ICSC's vice president of research and chief economist. ''Moreover, a bout of winter weather helped any remaining demand for winter clearance merchandise, as well as some pre-seasonal whiffs of spring weather gave consumers an additional reason to shop for some spring apparel too.''
ICSC Research anticipates that comparable-store sales for the month of February will increase by 3 percent to 3.5 percent.