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September Retail Sales Reports Vary

NEW YORK — U.S. chain-store sales rose 5.1 percent year over year in September, according to a new report from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

The trade group’s preliminary figure is based on a compilation of available sales results for 11 publicly traded chains, and excludes gasoline stations and September’s tally from Gap Inc., which has not yet reported.

The report is far rosier than MasterCard’s assessment of September, which pegs total retail sales growth at 3 percent year over year.

According to the company’s Master- Card Advisors services unit, sales continued to weaken after growth peaked at 4.7 percent in June, as “consumers remained cautious and continued to search for the best deals, which it seems they often found online,” said market insights senior VP Sarah Quinlan.

Online sales rose double digits in September, MasterCard said.

Looking ahead, ICSC anticipates that October comp-store sales will increase between 3 percent and 4 percent, and both organizations agree that the federal government shutdown could put a crimp in projected consumer spending.