Chain store activity posts positive yearly growth

Chain stores across the U.S. showed positive growth over the past year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs. The Goldman Sachs Retail Chain Store Sales Index had a reading of 540.5 for the week ending March 1. This is a 1.5 percent year-over-year increase, which is a sign consumers are starting to spend more.

Retail store activity also increased by 0.3 percent from the week before March 1. Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist, said in a statement this boost in activity will help the economy grow.

"As retailers faced more adverse weather over the prior weeks, they stepped up their promotional activity during the past week, which helped sales at some retailers, such as department store," Niemira said.

ICSC Research believes February same-store sales will grow at a rate of 3 percent. The organization believed the growth would range between 3 percent and 3.5 percent and it only grew at 1.5 percent. Niemira said the weather played a factor in figures not reaching expectations.

"The on going negative impact of stormy weather caused us to pare our monthly estimate of sales to about 3 percent from upwards of about a half percentage point higher," he said. "Yet, easy year-ago comparisons should still dominate the February reports."

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