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Economy in Brief

When Shoppers Shop ...
by Tom Moeller May 2, 2006

Chain store sales jumped another 0.7% last week and more than recouped the prior period's 0.2% decline, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey.

The late-month recovery lifted April chain store sales 1.6% above the March average which rose 0.7% from February. The April gain was the largest in over two years and during the first four months of 2006, chain store sales rose at a 14% annual rate.

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 chain store sales leading indicator fell 0.6% during the latest week (-1.4% y/y) marking the third decline in the last four periods. In April, the leading indicator is down 0.7% 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.

Cross-Country Personal Saving Rates from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/29/06 04/22/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 477.7 474.6 4.3% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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