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Economy in Brief

Weekly Chain Store Sales Slipped As Gasoline Prices Rose
by Tom Moeller August 8, 2006

Weekly chain store sales slipped 0.2% last week after two weeks of moderate increase, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey.

Sales in early August started the month 0.4% above the July average which fell 0.6% from June.

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 fell another 0.4% (-2.2% y/y) in the latest week. It was the third decline in the last four weeks.

Retail gasoline prices opened the month with a three cent rise to $3.04 (28.3% y/y) for regular unleaded gas compared to a July average of $2.98. In spot market trading yesterday, gasoline prices fell moderately but the shutdown of supplies from Prudhoe Bay lifted Alaskan North Slope prices $2.22 to $75.68 per barrel (22.4% y/y).

The new Short-Term Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is available here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 08/05/06 07/29/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 470.2 471.2 2.5% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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