August retail sales rose 1.2%

Based on a preliminary tally of 69 chain stores, August retail sales are posting an increase of 1.2% on a year-over-year bases, the weakest performance since March 2003 when sales fell 0.2%, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Chain Store Sales Index.

“Special factors faced throughout the month appear to have contributed to the weaker than expected sales performance—the shifting state tax holidays, later Labor Day and its related promotions, some later back-to-school shopping and Hurricane Charley,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “Despite the weaker then expected performance, August sales pace is not representative of the underlying trend, which remains solid at about 3.0 percent.”

ICSC Chain Store Sales Trends is a monthly report on the U.S. retail industry’s sales performance based on an ICSC compilation of publicly available sales for approximately 71 retail chain stores. 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.