Retail Has An Off Week, Up From A Year Ago

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. retail sales fell 0.7 percent during the week ending Oct. 20, but were 2.9 percent higher than during the same week of 2011, a Washington trade group said.

The International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs weekly consumer tracking survey released Wednesday found store traffic was lower than during the same week of 2011, although traffic in department and apparel stores was “somewhat stronger.”

Weather Trends International, which advises retailers on climate factors that influence shopping, said the week “was the warmest third week of October in more than 21 years,” with average temperatures 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than during the same week of 2011.

While warmer temperatures might encourage shoppers to get out of the house, there are times when cool weather helps, prompting seasonal sales of items like boots, mittens, hats and skis.

In the week ending Saturday, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed the national average price of gasoline “tumbled by 13.2 cents from the prior week to $3.687 per gallon,” indicating more discretionary spending power for consumers, the ICSC report said.

Gasoline prices fell to their lowest level since early August, but the average price was 6.5 percent higher than during the same week of 2011. Relative to the same week a year ago, prices rose for an 11th consecutive week.

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