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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Down Sharply
by Tom Moeller December 6, 2005

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey indicated that chain store sales collapsed 3.1% last week following the 0.7% drop during Thanksgiving week. It was the sharpest w/w drop since 1996 and lowered the starting point for December sales by 3.3% versus the November average which rose 1.2% m/m.

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 recovered 1.1% (-0.5% y/y) following the prior week's revised 0.3% dip.

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 was accompanied by an unchanged level of retail gasoline prices which held at $2.15 (12.3% y/y).

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 12/03/05 11/26/05 Y/Y 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 440.6 454.8 3.5% 4.6% 2.9%
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