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U.S. chain store sales up in August

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NEW YORK, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. chain store sales in August rose 2.9 percent over year-earlier levels, thanks to sales tax holidays, better weather and lower gasoline costs.

The International Council of Shopping Centers Inc. said Thursday that 13 states and the District of Columbia offered sales tax holidays.

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"On a monthly basis, overall retail chain store sales continue to waver back and forth -- with some months beating expectations while others falling short. This month's performance was near expectation and is likely to be a bit stronger once the drug store chains report their results," said Michael Niemira, ICSC's chief economist and director of research.

"Compared with the first half of the year, sales have, on trend, moderated since June -- a pattern that we are likely to see characterize the remainder of the year."

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