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Retail week uneven, U.S. trade group says

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NEW YORK, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Bitter cold in the East and unseasonably warm weather in the West "battered" U.S. retail sales last week, but sales were still up, a trade group said Tuesday.

The International Council of Shopping Centers said sales overall rose "by a slight 0.2 percent" from the previous week and "by a solid 2.2 percent" compared with the same week of 2013.

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That said, sales were "uneven," the trade group said, with consumer behavior dictated by weather conditions.

"Mother Nature once again roared this past week, causing unevenness in sales results within the industry," the council said.

"The latest week's sales were battered by abnormally warm temperatures in the West and bitter cold and snow in the East," Michael Niemira, the council's vice president of research and chief economist, said in a statement.

"Although the regional unevenness was present due to the weather, most sectors were flat with or above last year's business, especially for wholesale clubs, electronics, office and other specialty stores, such as sporting goods, books, jewelry," Niemira said.

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