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Survey: Weekly sales rise from year ago

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New York City A report released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs found that chain-store sales for the week ended Nov. 21 rose 3.3% from the year-earlier period.

On a week-over-week basis, sales were unchanged.

"So much of the monthly performance rides on bargain Friday shopping -- the day after Thanksgiving," said Michael Niemira, ICSC's chief economist, adding he expects sales to be strong on both Friday and Saturday. ICSC also said 15% of households completed half or more of their holiday gift buying -- the highest percentage reporting that since 2004's holiday season -- for the week ahead of Thanksgiving.

Niemira said he sees November sales rising 4% to 6% as easy year-over-year comparisons will dominate the results. That was lower than his previous forecast of sales increasing in the range of 5% to 8%.

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