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Economy in Brief

Chain Store Sales Fell Hard Along With Gasoline Prices
by Tom Moeller September 19, 2006

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey indicated that chain store sales fell a hard 1.1% last week. The second consecutive w/w drop pulled the average sales level in September about even with August.

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 retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline dropped twelve cents w/w to an average $2.50 (-10.4% y/y), the lowest level since early March.

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 increased 0.8% (1.0% y/y) in the latest week and raised the y/y gain into positive territory for the first time since April.

Household Energy Expenditures, 1982-2005 from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is available here

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

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 09/16/06 09/09/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 466.8 471.8 4.9% 3.6% 4.7% 2.9%
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