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Economy in Brief

Weekly Chain Store Sales Fell Despite Lower Gas Prices
by Tom Moeller August 14, 2007

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey indicated that chain store sales fell 0.9% last week, the third weekly decline in the last four periods.

The average level, thus, so far in August is up just 0.1% from July which rose 0.4% from the June level of sales.

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 rose 0.5% (1.8% y/y).

The recent weakness in chain store sales came as gasoline prices for regular, on average, fell 2.4% last week to $2.77 per gallon (-7.6% y/y).

The average gas price so far in August is 5.4% lower than in July and prices have fallen 13.9% from their peak during May of $3.22 per gallon.

The market price for regular gasoline in N.Y. harbor fell yesterday to $1.99 (-0.9% y/y), but that was up slightly from the July average price of $1.96.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100)  08/11/07  08/04/06  Y/Y  2006 
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales  481.3  482.1  2.3%  3.3% 
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