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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales: A Firm Start to the New Year
by Tom Moeller January 10, 2006

Chain store sales rose a slight 0.1% to open the new year according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey. The up tick followed a 0.8% decline during the closing week of 2005.

Solid increases earlier in December followed a very weak start to the month. As a result, sales in December fell 0.3% m/m but January sales started 2.2% above the prior month.

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 jumped 0.9% in the latest week and pulled December average up 0.2% 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.

Now is the Time to Strengthen Our Economic Foundation from Federal Reserve of Atlanta Bank President Jack Guynn is available here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 01/07/06 12/31/05 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 464.3 464.0 3.7% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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