NEW YORK – Chain store sales climbed 0.9% in the week ended March 17, according to International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index.

Year-over-year, sales were up 3.3%, the largest increase since early February.

"Warm temperatures heated up spending for the consumer over the past week as apparel and department stores saw an improvement in their business, as well factory outlets, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking survey," said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist. "Though this overall sales improvement across sales categories is a positive sign for the retail industry, we will continue to watch the effect of rising gasoline prices on consumers' discretionary budgets in the coming weeks," added Niemira.

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