WASHINGTON — U.S. comparable-chain-store sales fell 1.0% in the week ended Jan. 26, but posted a strong 4.5% gain in December as measured on a year-over-year basis by ICSC Research's tally of 20 major retail chain stores excluding the drug-store sector.

This was in-line with ICSC's 4 to 4.5% expectation for the industry. However, sales were quite uneven by week and a calendar shift from last year pushed some of the strength in the run-rate late into the month. All-industry sales (based on 22 retail chains)-inclusive of the drug segment-posted a 2.7% gain in December comparable-store sales.

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