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Economy in Brief

Weekly Chain Store Sales Tick Down as Gas Prices Fell
by Tom Moeller July 24, 2007

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey indicated that chain store sales ticked 0.2% lower last week and reversed most of the 0.3% rise during the prior week.

The weak showing of sales recently left the average level so far in July up 0.1% versus the June average which fell 0.5% versus May.

During the last ten years there has been a 45% correlation between the y/y change in chain store sales and the change in non-auto 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 0.5% (+0.5% y/y) after a 0.3% rise during the prior week. Nevertheless, the July average thus far is up 0.8% from June which fell 0.8% from May.

The meager rise in chain store sales this month came as gasoline prices for regular, on average, fell 3.0% to $2.958 per gallon (-1.5% y/y) last week. That followed a 2.3% advance during the prior week.

As a result, the average gas price so far in July is 2.3% lower than in June when prices fell 2.9% from May.

The market price for regular gasoline in N.Y. harbor fell yesterday to $2.0316 (-11.25% y/y), suggesting further declines in the retail price for gas.

Macroeconomic Implications of Changes in the Term Premium from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 07/21 /07 07/14/06 Y/Y 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 481.3 482.1 3.0% 3.3%
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