The International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs survey of 22 major chains -- excluding the drug store sector -- found sales flat from the previous week, but up 2.7 percent from a year earlier.
The trade group said traffic in stores was "relatively steady," with business weaker at office supply, furniture and dollar stores, but rising at grocery stores, department stores and wholesale clubs.
Sales rose at clothing stores with some help form "a bout of cold weather."
Weather Trends International Inc., which tracks climatic influences on shoppers, said "very cold weather locked in across the eastern half of the nation ... setting 69 record low temperatures."
The group also tracks gasoline prices, which can affect consumers' sense of having extra money to spend. The national average price of gasoline for the week dropped 3.1 cents from the previous week to $3.819 per gallon, 9.9 percent higher than during the same period in 2011.