August Chain-Store Sales Up 2.9%

August same-store sales for U.S. chain stores grew by 2.9 percent compared with the same month of 2006, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc.

Back-to-school shopping drove apparel-specialty-same-store sales to a 1.9 percent increase, its strongest performance since March, and discount store sales rose by 3.4 percent making Augusts’ performance stronger than July’s (2.6%).

“In August, sales picked-up a tad, but clearly the economic environment remains challenging for retailers,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “With continuing housing market problems, consumer spending trends will likely remain subdued in the foreseeable future.”

ICSC Chain Store Sales Trends is a monthly report on the U.S. retail industry’s sales performance based on an ICSC preliminary compilation of publicly-available sales for 47 chain stores during the month of August. Industry sales aggregates are compiled for “comparable-store” or “same-store” sales and for total store sales. Those data are presented as an index with a 1977=100 base. Comparable-store sales are also compiled for specialized-industry groupings, which include aggregates for apparel chain stores, department stores, discount stores, drug stores, footwear stores, furniture chain stores and wholesale clubs.