Sales receipts dropped 4.2 percent week to week, but were 4 percent higher than the same week a year ago, the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs weekly consumer tracking survey indicated.
The trade group said sales "tumbled ... from the prior week, but the year-over-year pace accelerated."
The group noted "turn-of-the-year seasonally adjusted week-over-week changes can be extremely volatile because of the difficulty in adjusting the data for calendar shifts."
ICSC said traffic was strong at apparel stores relative to the same week a year earlier, but slow at dollar stores, wholesale clubs and book and jewelry store businesses. Shopping online was also slow for the week, compared to the same week of 2012, the group said.
Discount stores saw "steady" year-over-year business, the report said.