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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Sustain Lower Level, Gasoline Prices Up Again
by Tom Moeller October 30, 2007

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)-UBS reported that chain store sales held steady last week (2.5% y/y) after a 1.5% decline during the week prior.

The average level of store sales in October is down 0.8% from the September average. That follows a 0.8% decline in the average level of chain store sales during September versus the August average.

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 fell 0.2% (-0.7% y/y) after a 0.2% decline during the prior week.

The decline in chain store sales accompanied a another nickel rise in average gasoline prices across the country to $2.87 (27.9% y/y) per gallon.

Higher gasoline prices followed the 4.7% m/m increase in crude oil prices so far in October to $83.47 per barrel. That rise since has backed off slightly from the daily high this month of $89.48 per barrel but only to $87.57.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 10/27/07 10/20/07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 473.3 472.9 2.5% 3.3% 3.6% 4.7%
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