The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reported that chain store sales fell for the 9th time in the last 13 weeks and by the most in five weeks, decreasing 0.8% from the prior week, while growing 2.4% over the prior-year period during the week ending Oct 22, which was the smallest gain since the week ended June 18th.

Based on the ICSC-GS channel-checking survey, customer traffic led the softness with a pronounced dip in shopping across most store types and shopping venues. “It seems that last week was a lull in the spending cycle with few catalysts to spur demand. However, with Halloween just around the corner, sales are likely to finish the month on a stronger note,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s vice president of research and chief economist.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that gas prices fell by nearly 2 cents to $3.462 on Oct. 24, but still 23% higher than a year ago, continuing to restrain discretionary purchasing power for consumers. For all of October, ICSC Research projects industry sales to rise 4.0% excluding the impact of fuel and 5.0% with fuel as receding economic shocks and worries are seemingly likely to keep the momentum intact.