WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- U.S. retail sales were unchanged in the week ended Saturday, but did not slip after a week of strong gains, a trade group said Tuesday.
Although flat compared to the previous week, "sales held onto the prior week's hefty gains," the International Council of Shopping Centers said in a weekly report.
Retail receipts also rose 2.6 percent compared to the same week a year earlier, the group said.
"Despite the lingering hot summer weather about one-third of all households that will buy back-to-school merchandise have already begun to shop," the trade group said.
Retailers, however, can expect August to include "the lion's share" of back-to-school shopping, ICSC said.