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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Dropped
by Tom Moeller November 11, 2008

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index, chain store sales dropped 1.0% last week from the last week in October. That wasn't the first sign of severe weakness in sales. There was one weekly decline last month and sales were down during each week of September, but the decline did lower the starting level of sales this month 0.7% below the October average. During all of October sales fell 1.0% from September following that month's 1.9% drop.

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 0.3% dip in the weekly leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-Goldman Sachs. The index level was, however, 6.1% below the year ago level at the lowest level since 1996.

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

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 11/08/08 10/31/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 477.2 482.0 0.4% 2.8% 3.3% 3.6%
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