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Retailers' weekly sales rise 3.1%: survey

Retailers' weekly sales rise 3.1%: survey (by Andria Cheng)

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Chain-store sales for the week ended March 12 rose 3.1% from the year-earlier period, according to a survey released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs. On a week-over-week basis, sales inched up 0.1%. "Customer traffic was relatively steady over the last week," said Michael Niemira, ICSC's chief economist, adding demand shifted towards drug stores, dollar stores and wholesale clubs. "The latest week's consumer spending shift seemingly was more value driven and some of the discretionary segments, such as apparel and department stores were somewhat weaker." ICSC kept its forecast of March sales being flat to up 2% as Easter falling about three weeks later this year will cause a "big drag" on March sales.