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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Fell With Gasoline Prices
by Tom Moeller May 9, 2006

Chain store sales slipped 0.4% last week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey. The decline, however, followed several heady gains during April. Therefore, the opening level of May sales was 0.3% above the April average which rose 1.6% from March.

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 was unchanged (-1.0% y/y) during the last week of April. The month's average fell 0.8% from March which rose 0.3% 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.

Retail gasoline prices slipped one penny last week to $2.91 per gallon, reversing the modest rise during the prior week. Yesterday, the recent decline in spot market gasoline prices continued and for unleaded regular, the NY price was off 13 cents from last week's average.

Bringing Down Gas and Oil Prices from the American Enterprise Institute is available here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 05/06/06 04/29/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 475.9 477.7 3.1% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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