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NEW YORK CITY-Retailers’ year-over-year same-store sales jump of 3.6%, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers report, was just under their year-to-date average increase of 3.7%. However, gasoline prices and unusually high temperatures for August held back potentially higher sales.

Last year’s August increase was only 1.3%, the poorest performance that chains turned in all year, so this year’s year-over-year comparison could have been strong. But record high gas prices and the 11th-warmest August in over 110 years held back their performance.

Wholesale clubs notched the industry’s strongest performance by sector, with a 7.8% increase. Costco led the way, rising 9%, followed by Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Clubs, which were up 6.6%.

The weakest sector overall was apparel, inching up by 1.2%. Those chain’s numbers as a whole were brought down by a 9% drop at Gap Inc. Strong performers in the sector were Abercrombie & Fitch, up 24%, and Chico’s FAS, which shot up 14%.

Department stores were mixed, rising 2%. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus both posted strong gains of 8% and 8.2%, respectively, but May Department Stores fell 2.8%.

Discount chains reported a 3% jump, with Target performing the strongest, rising 6.5%. Wal-Mart’s discount stores turned in a 2.6% increase. ShopKo continued its monthly slide, falling 9.3%.

Due to high gas prices and fallout from the hurricane, ICSC research predicts a 3% to 3.5% year-over-year increase for this month.

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