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Economy in Brief

Weekly Chain Store Sales Inch Higher
by Tom Moeller September 27, 2005

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey indicated that chain store sales inched 0.1% higher last week, depressed again by the Hurricane effect which lowered sales 2.1% the prior week. So far this month sales are 1.6% below the August average which fell 0.1% from July.

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 weak rise in sales last week accompanied a slight 0.6% up tick in gasoline prices to $2.80 per gallon (46.2% y/y).

The leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC fell another 0.5% (-2.9% y/y) after the 2.0% decline the prior week and it was the fourth decline in the last five 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) 09/24/05 09/17/05 Y/Y 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 445.5 445.0 2.8% 4.6% 2.9%
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