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Economy in Brief

Weekly Chain Store Sales Ticked Up, January Firmest Since 1999
by Tom Moeller January 23, 2007

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey indicated that chain store sales last week ticked 0.1% higher after no change the prior week.

The seeming lethargy of these gains, however, belies the greater strength of spending. Due to firm gains at the end of December and at the beginning of this month, the average level of chain store sales in January is up 3.0% from the prior month, a rate of increase not seen since 1999.

During the last ten years there has been a 45% 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 also showed strength and rose 0.3% after a 0.8% increase the prior week.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 1/20/07 1/13/06 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 480.9 480.2 4.8% 3.3% 3.6% 4.7%
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