U.S. chain store sales fell in the first week of February as cold weather kept consumers away fromstores, a report said Tuesday.

As retailers depleted the last of their winter inventories, sales at major U.S. chain stores slipped 1.6 percent in the week ended Feb. 8, compared with the same period last month, Instinet Research said in its weekly Redbook report.

Sales dropped 0.2 percent in the week ended Feb. 8 compared with the same week a year ago, the report said.

"The period started slowly partly due to weather conditions across the country," the report said. "February represents the start of the spring season ... with fewer incentives in the form ofclearance sales and inventory markdowns to draw customers into stores."

The Redbook Average is compiled from a sample of general merchandise retailers representing about 9,000 stores. Same-store sales measure revenue at stores open at least a year. The index is released weekly by Instinet Research, a division of Instinet, a Reuters-owned electronic brokerage.