Discount retailers fared the best among the US retailers that have reported sales figures for February. The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, said sales at stores open more than a year, or same-store sales, rose 2.6%, a better performance than expected.
Rival discounter Target announced same-store sales up 0.5%, with shoes, food and health products selling well.
Cheaper retailers tend to do better when the economy is slowing down and consumers are looking to save money. Fashion retailer Gap reported a 6% fall in revenue, with its Old Navy chain suffering an 8% drop.
Upmarket department store chain Nordstrom also had a weak February, with revenues slumping 5.8% in February. In contrast TJX, the owner of discount clothes chain TJ Maxx, reported a 3% rise in sales. It also owns the Marshalls chain.
A report from the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the nation had seen an economic slowdown across all regions since January. The Fed's Beige Book report said housing, manufacturing and retail activity had all cooled since the start of the year.