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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Rise Moderate, Gas Prices Rise Strong
by Tom Moeller April 8, 2008

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers ICSC-UBS Chain Store survey, sales rose 0.7% last week and recovered the declines of the prior two weeks. The increase left the opening level of sales this month 0.5% higher than the March average which was unchanged from February.

>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.

During the latest week the leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-UBS plunged 1.8% last week to the lowest level since early 2002.

Higher prices for gasoline prices are just one factor dampening any rise in store sales. The four cent rise last week lifted the retail price for a gallon of regular to $3.32, up 28 cents or 9.1% this year.

Global Economic and Financial Challenges: Implications for Latin America is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Randall S. Kroszner and it can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/04/08 03/28/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 490.8 487.5 0.3% 2.8% 3.3% 3.6%
  04/07/08 3/31/08        
Retail Gasoline ($ per gallon) 3.32 3.29 18.9% 2.80 2.57 2.27
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