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U.S. retailers say business picked up later in February

Sales for many U.S. retailers rose in February, as shoppers ventured out later in the month after a dismal start when ice, cold and snow kept many of them at home.Costco Wholesale Corp on Thursday said U.S. sales at stores open at least a year rose 3 percent, while L Brands Inc reported a better-than-expected 2 percent rise, lifted by gains at its Victoria's Secret lingerie chain.The unusually cold and snowy weather that slammed retailers in January continued into February, including an ice storm that idled much of the Southeast for days.But sales trends improved as the weather got better and many U.S. consumers got tax refunds, said John Cato, chief executive of discount clothing chain Cato Corp.Last week, the chief executives of department store chain Macy's Inc and jeweler Zale Corp also reported much brisker business after Valentine's Day."Bring on the spring and you'll see a much improved consumer spending pace, said Michael Niemira, chief economist of the International Council of...

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