NEW YORK – Chain store sales soared 3.8% in the week ended March 31, according to data from the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot released Tuesday.

The growth was spurred by Easter-related shopping, according to the release.

Year-over-year, sales were 4.2% better, an increase in pace from the week before.

"March finished on a strong note as the earlier Easter holiday (April 8, 2012 vs. April 24, 2011) gave consumers an incentive to shop for holiday-related items, as well as, helped to strengthen seasonal demand," said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist.  "For March, ICSC expects that comp-store sales will increase between 3.0% to 5.0% for the industry when retailers report their monthly sales results on Thursday, April 5, 2012," Niemira added.

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