Sales in June at lower-priced department stores such as Kohl's and J.C. Penney topped those of specialty stores for the second month in a row, according to analyst reports. The 2.8% sales increase (for stores open at least a year) compared with June 2005, likely is due to factors including higher gas prices and interest rates, as well as the consolidation of the May and Federated Department Stores chains, which has resulted in consumers seeking new shopping options.

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