U.S. chain-store sales posted a gain of 3.9 percent for the fiscal month of June on a year-over-year basis, the strongest gain since January, according to a tally of comparable-store sales compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

“Excluding drug stores, the preliminary tally actually rose by a very strong 5.3 percent in June, which would be the strongest reading since August of 2012,” said Michael P. Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC.

“Overall, these data continue to paint an improving picture after a ‘softer’ first quarter (February-April) and are encouraging as we move into the second fiscal quarter of the year,” Niemira added.

For July, ICSC research anticipates that the upward trend will remain in the 3–3.5 percent range.

This Chain Store Sales Trends is a monthly report on the U.S. retail industry's sales performance based on an ICSC preliminary compilation of publicly-available sales for 12 chain stores during the month of June.