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Economy in Brief

Weekly Chain Store Sales Down Sharply
by Tom Moeller September 20, 2005

The full effect of Hurricane Katrina pushed chain store sales down 2.1% last week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey, after a slight 0.2% decline the prior week. So far this month sales are 1.2% below the August average which fell 0.1% from July.

The ICSC suggested that in addition to the Hurricane, higher gasoline prices and a drop in consumer confidence were responsible for the decline.

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 non-auto retail sales less gasoline.

The leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC cratered 2.0% in the latest week (-2.0% y/y) after a slight gain during the previous week.

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) 09/17/05 09/10/05 Y/Y 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 445.0 454.6 2.4% 4.6% 2.9%
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