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Retail up only slightly in Easter week

Retail up only slightly in Easter week
The White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. UPI/Chip Somodevilla/POOL | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- U.S. retail sales rose marginally in the week ending April 23, with the Easter holiday providing a boost, a trade group in Washington said Tuesday.

The International Council of Shopping Centers reported sales receipts rose 0.4 percent compared to the previous week and were 3.2 percent higher compared to the same week a year ago.

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The group said polling data showed rising sales could come to a halt soon, citing a recent ABC News survey that found 77 percent of respondents indicating "soaring fuel costs" were "creating hardship for them."

A week ago, the trade group said, "The pace of sales is likely to continue to heat up seasonally as Easter-related purchases ... quicken," but sales rose less than expected and the comparison to the same week a year ago is in part an apples to oranges comparison, as Easter a year ago fell three weeks earlier.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency said gas prices were up 36.2 percent compared to the same week in 2010, with the national average price of $3.88 per gallon, the highest it has been since August 2008.

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