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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Backpedaled, Gas Prices Down
by Tom Moeller November 15, 2005

Chain store sales gave back last week about half of the prior period's strong gain and fell 0.6% according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey. Nevertheless, the average level of sales in November remained 1.0% above October which rose 0.1% from the prior month

The average US retail price of regular gasoline fell another 8 cents last week to $2.30 per gallon (+16.6 y/y). Yesterday, the spot market price for gasoline was down another 3 cents from the prior week.

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 gained 0.3% (-2.9% y/y) during the latest week following an upwardly revised 0.2% gain the prior 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) 11/12/05 11/05/05 Y/Y 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 453.3 456.1 3.9% 4.6% 2.9%
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