December Chain Store Sales Soft

December same-store sales grew by 0.9 percent on a year-over-year comparison with the same month of 2006 for U.S. chain stores, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc.

The overall sales gain is largely in-line with ICSC Research’s expectation of about 1 percent for the month.

“Overall the consumer was conservative in their spending for the 2007 holiday season, as the season posted a gain of 2.2 percent—it’s weakest showing since 2002,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “Looking forward to January, we expect a gain of 1.5-2 percent, as the tough economic environment lingers.”

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 45 chain stores during the month of December.