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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Fell Versus Last Year
by Tom Moeller November 18, 2008

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index, a 0.3% uptick in chain store sales last week made up a piece of the prior week's 1.0% decline. Nevertheless, sales ticked down 0.1% from the year-ago level.

The latest weekly increase left sales so far in November down 0.6% from October. 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.

The weekly leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-Goldman Sachs ticked up 0.1% but was still down 5.7% from the year-ago level and it was at it's lowest level since 1996.

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

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 11/15/08 11/08/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 478.5 477.2 -0.1% 2.8% 3.3% 3.6%
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