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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Further Confirm Weak Retail Spending
by Tom Moeller October 28, 2008

Consumer spending continued to weaken this month, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index, chain store sales recovered just a piece of the prior week's decline. The 0.5% increase came after a 1.6% drop keeping October sales 1.1% below the September average. Chain store sales fell 1.9% during August.

The level of sales during the latest week remained near the lowest since December of last year.

During the last ten years there has been a 59% correlation between the y/y change in chain store sales and the change in nonauto retail sales less gasoline.

The ICSC-Goldman Sachs 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.

Portending further weakness in consumer spending was a 1.3% drop in the leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-Goldman Sachs. It fell 1.3% (-5.8% y/y) during the latest week to the lowest level since 1996.

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

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 10/25/08 10/18/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 479.3 477.0 1.3% 2.8% 3.3% 3.6%
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