U.S. retail sales at discount, chain and department stores rose modestly in the latest week as worried consumers decided not to spend their rebate checks, Instinet Research reported in its weekly Redbook Retail Sales Average on Wednesday. 

The Redbook Average rose 0.3 percent during the four retail weeks of August versus the same period in July, above last week's 0.4 percent gain and compared with a target 0.2 percent decline, Redbook said. 

``Given the current economic conditions, many consumers expect to save and pay down their debts rather than splurge on retail with their rebate checks,'' Redbook said. 

On a year-over-year basis, sales grew 2.6 percent during the first four weeks of August, compared with last week's 2.9 percent gain and ahead of a target 2.2 percent rise. 

``Sales softened markedly in the final week of August, culminating in a particularly sluggish weekend,'' Redbook said. 

The Redbook Retail Sales Average is a sales-weighted average of annual growth in same-store sales at discount, department and chain stores that report their results on a weekly basis. 

The average is compiled from a sample of general merchandise retailers representing about 9,000 stores. Same store sales measure revenues at stores open at least a year. 

The Redbook Average is released weekly by Instinet Research, a division of Instinet, a Reuters-owned electronic brokerage.