U.S. chain store sales fell in the latest week for the second week in a row due to the late Easter holiday and a lack of Spring-like weather in much of the U.S., according to a report Tuesday.

Sales fell by 1.6 percent in the week ended March 25, after dipping by 0.1 percent in the prior week, according to the report produced by the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS Securities LLC.

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The decline in the latest week was the largest week-over-week decline so far this year, ICSC said.

The ICSC said sales rose 2.7 percent last week versus the same year-earlier week. In the previous week sales rose 3.4 percent versus the same week a year ago.

"As we come to the end of the month, the expected shift in sales for spring and Easter-related goods has become apparent," said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC's chief economist and director of research.

"Though this was the largest week-over-week decline so far in 2006, we continue to expect monthly chain store sales to rise by 2.5 percent to 3.0 percent for March, on a year-over-year basis," Niemira added.

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