Chain stores post 6.7% sales gain

Retail chain stores posted their best monthly performance in over three years as sales rose 6.7% in February, in a year-over-year sales comparison, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Chain Store Sales Index. It was the strongest performance since April 2000 when sales improved by 7.9%.

Wholesales clubs outperformed all other store types and achieved a 9.3% sales increase in February. Apparel chain stores also performed extremely well in the month, achieving an 8.6% increase followed by discount stores (6.3%); department stores (5.4%), drug stores (5%), and furniture stores (3.7%). The only category that experienced a drop in sales was footwear stores (-1.7%).

“Throughout February, sales continued to be strong across the majority of merchandise categories as consumer demand drove sales,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “Looking forward to March, the year-over-year comparable-store sales pace should become more moderate to about 4% to 5%, as consumers continue to focus more closely on spring apparel.”

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