Chain store sales up nearly 3 percent in August

Chain stores posted a sales increase of 2.9 percent for August, on a year-over-year basis, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. The organization credits the increase on sales tax holidays in 13 states and the District of Columbia, more seasonable weather, and a minor reduction in overall gasoline costs. The preliminary tally does not include some retailers—including the drug store chains.

“On a monthly basis, overall retail chain store sales continue to waver back and forth – with some months beating expectations while others falling short. This month’s performance was near expectation and likely to be a bit stronger once the drug store chains report their results,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “Compared with the first half of the year, sales have, on trend, moderated since June–a pattern that we are likely to see characterize the remainder of the year.”

ICSC expects same-store sales to increase by 3 to 3.5 percent in September, as consumers’ wrap-up their back-to-school shopping.

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 52 chain stores during the month of June. Industry sales aggregates are compiled for 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.