Retail Sales Gain Up 0.5 Percent Last Week

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. retail sales rose 0.5 percent during the week ending Saturday, rising at a slower rate than in the same week of 2011, a Washington retail trade group said.

Sales receipts rose 2.7 percent from the same week of 2011, the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs weekly consumer tracking survey released Tuesday said.

Store traffic during the week was lower year-on-year, except at grocery and apparel stores, where demand for groceries and emergency supplies was stimulated by the approach of Hurricane Sandy along the U.S. East Coast.

The annual gain in the previous week was 2.9 percent, but week-to-week sales in the previous reported noted a decline of 0.7 percent.

Weather Trends International, which advises retailers on climate factors that influence shopping, said the week on average was 3.7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than during the same week of 2011 and 2.8 degrees above normal.

That did not apply everywhere. Temperatures across the country were “mild, on average … across the eastern half of the nation, while a snowstorm socked the mountains of the West and heavy rain soaked the valleys,” WTI said.

The ICSG-GS report noted the AAA Fuel Gauge measured the national average price at the pump of a gallon of regular gasoline was at its lowest since July 30, but was still higher than at the same time in 2011.

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