U.S. chain store sales inched higher in the latest week as post-Thanksgiving sales lured bargain-hunting consumers to stores, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg said on Tuesday.

U.S. chain store sales rose 0.9 percent during the week ended Nov. 24, following a 0.5 percent decline one week earlier, the two companies reported in their Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot. 

Compared with last year's Thanksgiving sales, the index rose 2.2 percent, weaker than the prior week's year-over-year gain of 2.4 percent, and well below the 3.3 percent rate of growth seen the week before the devastating Sept. 11 attacks. 

Retailers tend to use sales during the week of Thanksgiving as a gauge for overall holiday sales. The sales index grew to 393.1 from 389.5 in the previous week. 

The BTM/UBSW Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot is compiled from seven major discount, department and chain stores across the country that report their weekly results. Those stores include J.C. Penney, Sears , Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Federated Department Stores Inc. and May Department Stores Co. 

The BTM/UBSW index measures sales growth with the year 1977 equaling 100.