Retail flat for a week, holds onto gains

July 17, 2012 at 5:06 PM

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.

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