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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Rose Again Despite Record Gasoline Prices
by Tom Moeller April 15, 2008

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers ICSC-UBS Chain Store survey, sales increased 0.9% last week and added to a 0.7% rise during the prior period. So far in April sales have risen 0.9% from March.

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 recovered just a piece of the prior week's 1.8% plunge with a 0.8% increase.

Gasoline prices jumped another six cents last week to a record of $3.39 per gallon. In yesterday's trading the wholesale price of gasoline rose to $2.72 per gallon, up another four cents from last week's average.

Crude oil prices jumped five dollars w/w to $108.93 (74.0% y/y for a barrel of WTI crude. That price is up roughly thirteen dollars so far this year.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/12/08 04/05/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 495.3 490.8 1.8% 2.8% 3.3% 3.6%
  04/14/08 04/07/08        
Retail Gasoline ($ per gallon) 3.39 3.33 17.8% 2.80 2.57 2.27
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