The International Council of Shopping Centers said receipts rose 2.6 percent from the previous week and 2.1 percent compared to the same week of 2012.
"Demand was mixed this past week with stronger discounter and dollar store business, and softer drug, office and apparel store business," said Michael Niemira, the council's vice president of research and chief economist.
How the month pans out now, he said, depends on Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving, which has developed into one of the retail year's most important sales events.
"With more consumers likely to shop during the Thanksgiving week than in the past year, much of the month's performance will be dependent on how business is during Black Friday and over the course of the weekend." Niemira said.