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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Weak Over Thanksgiving
by Tom Moeller December 2, 2008

Chain store sales during Thanksgiving week posted all of a 0.1% rise versus the prior week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index. The uptick followed declines near 1% during two of the prior three weeks and it left sales during the month of November down 0.4% from October. The decline last month was the third in the last four. (The uptick in the y/y gain to +1.3% reflected weakness in the 2007 period.)

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 jumped 1.0% after a 0.7$ decline during the prior week. The indicator remained down 4.9% from the year-ago level and it was near it's lowest level since 1996.

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

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 11/29/08 11/22/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 474.7 474.4 1.3% 2.8% 3.3% 3.6%
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