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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Off Sharply, Lowest Since 2007
by Tom Moeller September 30, 2008

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, chain store sales inched down another 0.2% last week. It was the fourth consecutive weekly decline and it lowered the average level of September sales by 1.9% from August.

The level of sales during the latest week was the lowest since December of last year. Year-to-year growth in sales eased to 1.1% from the recent peak growth rate of 2.9%.

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 reversed all of the prior week's rise and fell 0.7% (-4.4% y/y) to the highest level since mid-July.

The chain store sales figures are available in Haver's SURVEYW database.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 09/27/08 09/20/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 480.9 481.7 1.1% 2.8% 3.3% 3.6%
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