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NEW YORK CITY-Retailers last month posted a year-over-year, same-store sales gain of 5.3%, the industry’s best month since May 2004, when they were up by 5.7%, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers survey. The trade association tallied the results of 70 different retailers in collecting the data.

ICSC researchers cite an easy comparison to June 2004′s same-store sales as the primary reason for the jump. But warm weather and increased consumer confidence in the economy also played big roles in the uptick, they said.

Department stores had their best performance of the year, with a 5.5% jump. Kohl’s, which has had up and down results over the last few months, shot up 14.4%. Luxury chains also performed well; Neiman Marcus rose 9.2%, and Nordstrom was up 8.1%.

Wholesale clubs were the industry’s most successful sector, rising 6.6%. Costco led the clubs, as it has for much of the year, with a 9% gain. BJ’s Wholesale followed with a 4.3% bump.

Apparel chains jumped 4.7%, fueled by strong results by some chains. Abercrombie & Fitch, up 38%, American Eagle Outfitters, jumping 28%, and an 18.8% turnout by Chico’s FAS led the way. However, two of the sector’s biggest players, Gap Inc. and Limited Brands, were flat.

The discount sector increased by 5% as a group, bolstered by Target’s 9% boost. Wal-Mart climbed 4.6%, but ShopKo Stores continued months of declines, falling 4.2%.

ICSC researchers predict a 4% to 5% same-store sales rise this month, due to more hot weather and favorable comparisons.

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