The International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs sales report said sales declined by 1 percent in the week, but rose 2 percent compared to the same week in 2012.
The trade group said, "a confluence of factors held back the reported sales pace," in the week.
Temperatures were sharply colder on average in the week, which may have contributed to a brisk pace in clearance item sales, but sales were still off at department stores, drug stores, clothing stores, discounters, dollar, wholesale clubs, specialty stores, furniture and electronic stores, ICSC said.
Consumers were pinched slightly by higher gas prices and the higher payroll tax that kicked in in January. Sales were also expected to contract due to a seasonal, post-holiday decline, the trade group said.