Shopping centers got a little boost last week as seasonally warm weather, Valentine's Day and hearty discounts lured U.S. consumers out of their homes and into malls.
Chain store sales rose 0.9% for the week ended Saturday compared with the previous week, a report Wednesday from the International Council of Shopping Centers Inc. and Goldman Sachs said.
On a year-over-year basis, however, sales declined 0.9%.
"The tone for the week is somewhat better than in recent weeks, though demand continues to be sluggish" compared with 2008, said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist for the shopping center trade group.
For the month of February, Niemira expects same-store sales will be down 1% or 2% compared with a year ago.