February Same-Store Sales Up Nearly 2%

February same-store sales grew 1.9 percent on a year-over-year comparison for the same month of 2007 at U.S. chain stores, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc.

February was 0.5 percent ahead of the January pace as Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, posted better than expected sales for the month.

“Despite the slightly better performance, sales were weak for apparel, specialty, and department stores, as well as the luxury sector,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “Looking forward to March, we expect spending to improve slightly, as we are projecting an increase of about 2 percent.”

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 39 chain stores during the month of February. 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.