NEW YORK CITY-Retailer’s same-store sales came in at 2.9% year over year in August, with Wal-Mart improving by 3%, according to a monthly International Council of Shopping Centers report. Chains overall recorded a 2.6% gain in July, when Wal-Mart inched up 1.9%.

Wal-Mart attributed its increase to a jump in sales in a variety of product categories. Same-store sales at the largest retailer in the world’s discount stores rose 2.8%, while its Sam’s Club wholesale units recorded a 4% rise.

As an individual sector, apparel had a stronger performance in August, when it increased 1.9%, compared to a 4.3% dive in July. Abercrombie & Fitch had a leading 6% gain, followed by a 4% rise at Ross Stores. Chico’s FAS fell 9.3%.

Department stores took a downward turn overall, inching up 0.5%, in contrast to a 3% July gain. Dillard’s continued its trend of monthly declines this year, with a 5% drop, while J.C. Penney dipped 4%. Nordstrom was a strong performer, with a 6.6% jump.

One unusual development for the month was a 2% gain by Costco, which has produced an average month increase of 5.6% year to date. Target’s 6.1% increase was the same hike as July’s.

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