US chain store sales slipped 0.2% in January, compared to December - less than anticipated.

According to Redbook Research's latest indicator of national retail sales, the targeted decline had been 0.6%.

According to the Dow Jones Newswire, the Redbook index also showed seasonally adjusted sales in the four-week period rose 3.5% compared with January 2005, topping the targeted 3.1% gain.

"Retailers in our model closed the month and, for most, the fiscal year, on a firm note, with results in the final week generally on or better than plan," Redbook said in a statement.