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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Surge Despite Gasoline Price Jump
by Tom Moeller April 11, 2006

Chain store sales surged last week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey, as consumers upped spending by 1.8% following five consecutive weeks of softness.

The jump raised sales in early April 0.7% above the March average which rose 0.7% from February.

During the last ten years there has been a 47% correlation between the y/y change in chain store sales and the change in nonauto retail sales less gasoline.

The leading indicator of chain store sales slipped 0.4% (+0.5% /y) after the prior week's 0.5% rise. The March average was unchanged versus February.

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 rise in store sales last week occurred despite a ten cent increase in retail gasoline prices to $2.68 per gallon. That jump followed a nine cent rise the prior week and raised the April average to $2.64, up 8.7% from $2.43 during March. In spot market trading yesterday gasoline prices rose another seven cents from the prior week's average.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/08/06 04/01/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 470.6 462.3 3.9% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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