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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Fell Last Week
by Tom Moeller January 18, 2006

Chain store sales fell 1.4% last week following the modest 0.1% rise which opened the new year according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey.

Solid increases throughout December pulled the yearend level up. Therefore, despite recent weakness, sales in January are 1.5% ahead of December.

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 rose strongly for the second consecutive week. The 0.6% gain pulled January 1.2% ahead of December which rose 0.8% 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.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 01/14/06 01/07/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 457.7 464.3 3.1% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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