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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Dipped
by Tom Moeller January 5, 2006

Chain store sales dipped 0.8% during the final week of 2005 according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey. The decline, however, followed three weeks of solid increase. Therefore, December sales on average gained 0.4%, double the November increase.

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 slipped 0.1% in the latest week and the December average was unchanged from November.

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 Redbook Research survey of chain store sales painted a weaker picture of yearend selling. In fact, weakness throughout the month left the December average of general merchandise sales 0.2% below November.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 12/31/05 12/24/05 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 464.0 467.6 2.9% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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