Retail Sales Up A Touch

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) — U.S. sales receipts at chain stores rose slightly in the week ending Saturday, the International Council of Shopping Centers said Tuesday.

Sales rose 0.1 percent in the week, but came in 3.9 percent higher than the same week of 2011, the trade group said.

Consumer trends shifted “towards staples and value goods” in the week as the price of gasoline cut deeper into discretionary spending by rising 5 cents in the week.

The Energy Information Agency said gasoline reached $3.439 per gallon on Jan. 30, a 10.9 percent jump over the same week a year earlier.

The average price of gasoline is at the highest level since the last week of October 2010.

“Consumers continue to face higher fuel expenses, which continue to pinch their discretionary purchasing power,” the ICSC said.

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