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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Pass A "Soft Spot"
by Tom Moeller April 19, 2005

Chain store sales rose 1.0% last week according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey. Coming on the heels of 0.3% increases during the prior two weeks, the increase lifted the average level in April up 0.4% versus March when sales moved sideways for much of the month.

During the last ten years there has been a 56% correlation between the y/y change in chain store sales and the change in non-auto retail sales less gasoline, as published by the US Census Department. Chain store sales correspond directly with roughly 14% of nonauto retail sales less gasoline.

The leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC gained 0.3% (-0.8% y/y) for the first rise in four weeks.

The ICSC-UBS retail chain-store sales index is constructed using the same-store sales (stores open for one year) reported by 78 stores of seven retailers: Dayton Hudson, Federated, Kmart, May, J.C. Penney, Sears and Wal-Mart.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/16/05 04/09/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 457.4 452.9 3.9% 4.6% 2.9% 3.6%
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