The International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs weekly retail tracking report said sales rose 1 percent from the previous week and 3 percent compared to the same week of 2012.
"Business was brisk in the final days ahead of Christmas and for the week as a whole," said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist.
The weekly consumer tracking survey churned up encouraging news for retailers, with data that showed "the consumers' average share of total holiday spending that was in the form of a gift card rose to a record 23.7 percent in 2013," the trade group said.
Retailers welcome gift cards, because cards translate to sales and create opportunities for additional sales by generating store traffic.
"This is good news as it means that the extended season -- the weeks after Christmas and into January -- will play an important role in the final tally of the season's performance," Niemira said.