U.S. chain store retail sales (search) rose in the latest week, as consumers shopped for clearance items and seasonal goods during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, a retail report said on Wednesday.

Sales rose 0.5 percent in the week ended July 2, compared with a 0.6 percent decline the previous week, the International Council of Shopping Centers (search) and UBS (search) said in a joint report.

Compared with the same week a year ago, sales slowed to a 3.8 percent increase after a 4.2 percent rise the preceding week.

"Consumers celebrated America's birthday by shopping for seasonal goods and summer clearance items this past weekend, which helped to lift overall sales for the month," said Michael Niemira, ICSC's chief economist and director of research.

"At the moment, the 'retail stars' are aligned for solid sales performance as the industry continues to face easier comparisons, better seasonal weather and improving consumer confidence," added Niemira.

For June, "the ICSC expects monthly comp-store sales performance will increase by at least 4.5 percent — the strongest since February's 4.7 percent increase and maybe the strongest reading since May 2004 (+5.7 percent)," Niemira said.

The ICSC-UBS Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot is compiled from a group of major discount, department and chain stores across the country that report their weekly results.