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NEW YORK CITY-Retailers posted a better-than-expected 3.5% year-over-year same-store sales gain in July, despite record-breaking hot weather throughout much of the country, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers survey. The month, characterized by the hot weather causing the clearance of summer goods, was also an improvement from June’s 3% increase.

The results of two major drug-store chains greatly impacted the numbers. Without Walgreens’ 9.7% jump and Rite Aide’s 4.1% lift, the increase for the collected retailers surveyed would have come in at 3%.

On the other hand, Wal-Mart’s 1.1% increase held back the industry as a whole, which would have posted a 4.6% gain had it not been for the largest retailer in the world’s results.

In the discount sector, dollar stores fared the best, with Family Dollar jumping 7.5% and Dollar General up 4.6%. Target Corp. came in at 3.1%, below its average monthly increase this year of 5%.

Department stores, up 3.8%, slightly edged their 3.7% average this year. Kohl’s led the way with a 5.9% upturn, while Federated Department Stores posted a 3.3% increase. Dillards, down 3%, reported its second month in a row falling same-store sales.

Apparel was a mixed bag, collectively gaining 1.3%. Deb Shops plunged 9.6%, and Gap Inc.’s chains dropped 4%. Strong performers in the sector were Limited Brands and American Eagle Outfitters, both with 7% boosts.

Finally, Costco Wholesale once again dominated the wholesale club sector, with a 7%, rise. BJ’s Wholesale rose 1.9%, and Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Clubs inched up 1.3%.

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