NEW YORK — Sales at the nation’s drug stores rose 6% in September, leading all retail channels, according to a report Thursday from the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Overall, U.S. chain-store sales posted gains of 4% for the month, compared to year-ago results. Excluding gas, sales were actually up 5.1%.


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“The biggest story line here is that the September performance was led by the drug-store segment, posting its strongest monthly showing since April 2007,” said Michael P. Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC. “This seemingly heralds the full recovery of this segment after an extended period of weakness due to several mitigating factors.”

In April 2007 the drug-store segment had a 6.7% sales gain. Apparel was the weakest performing segment in September, posting a 0.1% gain.

For October, ICSC research projects that comparable-store sales will increase between 3% and 4% — although the group cautioned that the federal government shutdown does have the potential to curb spending during the month, “biasing the October expectations to a slightly weaker performance even on the heels of a strong gain in September.”

The ICSC data combines comparable- or same-store sales and total store sales for publicly traded retailers to calculate an index.

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