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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales & Gasoline Prices Strong Again
by Tom Moeller April 18, 2006

Chain store sales jumped another 1.1% last week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey, on top of the 1.8% rise which opened April.

The gains raised sales so far in April 1.3% 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 fell 0.3% (-0.2% y/y) after the prior week's 0.5% decline. The latest level was down 0.4% from the March average which rose 0.3% from 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.

Again the rise in store sales accompanied a jump in retail gasoline prices. The second consecutive ten cent w/w surge in gas to $2.78 per gallon (24.4% y/y) raised the April average to $2.69. In spot market trading yesterday gasoline prices easily crested two dollars and rose to $2.14.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/15/06 04/08/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 475.6 470.6 4.0% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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