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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Chain Store Sales Ticked Up, As Did Gasoline Prices
by Tom Moeller August 21, 2007

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS survey reported that chain store sales rose 0.2% last week after the 0.9% decline during the prior period.

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

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 was unchanged from the prior week (1.9% y/y).

Gasoline prices for regular, on average rose one penny last week to $2.78 per gallon (-4.8% y/y).

The average gas price so far in August is 5.6% lower than in July and prices have fallen 13.5% from their peak during May of $3.22 per gallon.

The market price for regular gasoline in N.Y. harbor increased yesterday to $1.98 (11.1% y/y) and so far in August has averaged roughly 6.8% lower than during July.

For crude oil, the price for West Texas Intermediate fell yesterday to $71.13 per barrel and so far in August has averaged $73.60, 0.2% below July.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100)  08/18/07  08/11/06  Y/Y  2006  2005 2004
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales  482.0 480.8  2.7%  3.3%  3.6% 4.7%
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