Modest Sales Growth in July

New York City, Retail sales came back to earth in July, as the industry as a whole posted modest comparable-store-sales growth of 3.6% on a year-over-year basis, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC’s) tally.

“The July chain-store sales performance was softer than we expected but continued to be in line with the fiscal year-to-date trend,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. With a heat wave diffusing demand for fall fashions, many apparel and department stores failed to live up to expectations. Both Federated and May posted comp-store declines, and even Nordstrom mustered a mere 3.6% same-store sales. Wholesale clubs and drug stores led the industry with increases of 5.0% and 4.7%, respectively. Wal-Mart Stores took the heat well, posting 4.4% comp-store growth as customers were in the mood for air conditioners and ice packs. Discount rival Target Corp. fared even better, with 5.5% growth. The ICSC expects same-store-sales growth to increase to 4.0% for the month of August.