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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Backpedaled, Gas Prices Down Again
by Tom Moeller November 29, 2005

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey indicated that during Thanksgiving week, chain store sales slipped 0.7% following the prior period's 1.0% jump. The latest left the average level of sales in November 1.2% above October which rose 0.1% from September.

During the last ten years there has been a 51% 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 slipped 0.3% (-2.0% y/y) during the latest week following two consecutive weeks of increases.

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.

The latest decline in store sales occurred despite a further drop in gasoline prices. The retail average price of gasoline in the U.S. fell a nickel last week to $2.15 (+10.7% y/y).

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 11/26/05 11/19/05 Y/Y 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 454.8 458.0 5.1% 4.6% 2.9%
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