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NEW YORK CITY-Retailers’ same-store sales only rose 1.7% year over year in September, the second-worst results they have posted so far in 2007. The slight increase was due, in part, to warmer-than-normal weather last month that did little to get consumers into stores, according to a monthly International Council of Shopping Centers report.

Apparel chains were hit the hardest, falling 4% as a group. Chico’s FAS dropped 8.3%, followed by 7% slides at Gap Inc. and Cato Corp. Ann Taylor was the only chain in the report that had above-flat sales, crawling up 0.5%.

Department stores did not fare well, either, posting a 2.2% dip. Dillard’s plunged 7%, while J.C. Penney slipped 4.6%. Luxury-leader Nordstrom continued to hold its own, though, reporting a 3.2% rise.

Discount chains were above negative numbers as a group, but barely, with a collective 0.9% increase. Wal-Mart was up 0.8%, and Target, gaining 1.2%, was well below its year-to-date average monthly improvement of 4.3%.

One sector that was not impacted by the weather was wholesale clubs, gaining 5.1% as a group. Costco fared the best, with a 6% jump, while Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Clubs gained 4.1%.

September was the worst-performing month of the year for retailers behind April’s 1.9% overall decline. ICSC’s research team predicts that October will bring a gain of about 2.5%.

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