U.S. chain store sales (search) fell in the first week of April, as cooler weather slowed demand for spring apparel, a report said Tuesday.

Sales in April to-date were down 3.7 percent compared with March. Sales at major retailers rose by 1.7 percent on a year-over-year basis for the week ended April 9, said Redbook Research (search), an independent company.

"Cooler and wet weather reduced store traffic and put the brakes on seasonal business, but retailers were compensated by strength in consumables such as food, health and beauty aids as well as house wares," Redbook said.

"Retailers said the slowdown in spring lines is expected to be temporary," the report added.

The Redbook data are compiled from a sample of same-store sales at general merchandise retailers representing about 9,000 stores. Same-store sales measure revenue at stores open at least one year.