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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Stable As Gas Prices Fell
by Tom Moeller June 20, 2006

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS reported that chain store sales were stable last week following a 1.2% surge during the prior week.

Sales so far in June are 0.2% below the May average which fell 0.4% from April. 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 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 leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-UBS recovered another 1.0% (-2.2% y/y), up for the third week after several consecutive weeks of decline.

Retail gasoline prices fell four cents last week to an average $2.87 per gallon and reversed most of the increase during the prior two weeks. In spot market trading gasoline prices fell a nickel yesterday to $1.93 per gallon and were down a bit more than that from last week's average $1.99.

The just-released 2006 International Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is available here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 06/17/06 06/10/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 473.6 473.6 3.9% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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