NEW YORK – U.S. chain store sales dropped sharply in the latest week as higher gasoline prices, weaker consumer confidence and warm winter temperatures cut into shopping, according to a report on Wednesday.
Sales fell 1.4 percent in the week ended Jan. 14 after edging up 0.1 percent in the prior week, the report from the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS Securities LLC said.
The ICSC also said sales were up 3.1 percent last week versus the same year-earlier week. However in the previous week sales were up 3.7 percent versus the same week a year ago.
"This past week retail chain store sales were influenced by a number of factors including warmer weather and rising gasoline prices," Michael P. Niemira, ICSC's chief economist and director of research, said in a prepared statement.
The group said warmer weather in the entire nation over the last four weeks has caused demand for seasonal goods, like winter jackets, to slacken. It said January temperatures nationwide are on track to be the warmest in 112 years.
"Despite the results this past week, industry sales are still expected to rise by 3.0 percent to 3.5 percent, on a year-over-year basis for January," Niemira said.