Chain store sales soared 2.7% in the week ended Feb. 16, but slowed to 1.8% growth year-over-year, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot released Wednesday.

"The retail landscape continues to be uneven by segment and uneven by week in February," said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist. "Although Valentine's Day shopping may have helped some segments of the industry over the past week, higher gasoline prices-and pinched discretionary spending power-higher payroll taxes and the slower pace of federal tax refunds are all weighing on the consumers' ability to spend," Niemira added.

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