By Dhanya Skariachan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Deep discounts and the warmest July weather in decades should help retail chains report a rise in monthly sales, with many expecting warehouse clubs and high-end chains to lead the way.
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July figures will give investors an early read on consumer demand in the economy at the start of the back-to-school season, the second-biggest selling period of the year after Christmas.
Analysts are expecting same-store sales to rise 4.3 percent in July, compared with a year-ago increase of 2.8 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
"Recent hot weather has driven consumers to the malls, aiding in the clearance of spring and summer merchandise," Barclays analyst Robert Drbul said.
An early batch of results highlighted mixed fortunes.
Teen apparel chain Zumiez Inc
Rival Hot Topic Inc
Top U.S. drug store chain Walgreen Co
Investors will want to know if retailers had to offer deeper-than-usual discounts to win shoppers.
U.S. consumer sentiment fell in July to its lowest point in more than two years as anxieties over stagnant wages and unemployment deepened, a survey showed.
"My mom is paying the bills and they're telling me that they need to cut back on me spending all this money on me buying clothes," said Ed Rush, 15, who was shopping at a Target store in Chicago.
Analysts expect warehouse club operators such as Costco Wholesale Corp
One underperformer of the month could be clothing retailer Gap Inc
(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan in New York, Eunju Lie in Chicago, Arpita Mukherjee and Meenakshi Iyer in Bangalore; Editing by Bernard Orr)