July’s sales grew by 2.6 percent on a year-over-year comparison for the same month of 2006 for the nation’s chain stores, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc.
Although July sales grew at a steady pace—consistent with the trend since February—industry segments showed a lot more volatility, such as the luxury department store segment’s growth, which rose 10.8 percent from July of last year. July sales were also dominated by summer clearance sales. But, teen retailers and apparel-specialty retailers, performed relatively poorly in relation to recent trends.
“As we have noted earlier this year, a consumer ‘soft patch’ began in February 2007 and the latest data suggested it continued through July,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “The housing market drag continues to dampen consumer demand and with it the overall economy. Looking forward to August sales results, we expect industry comp-store sales will increase by 2-2.5 percent, which is largely a continuation of the recent trend.”
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 53 chain stores during the month of April.