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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Continued Unchanged Last Week
by Tom Moeller February 10, 2009

The consumer remained slumbering last week after the holiday season. Chain store sales were roughly stable from the prior week and the latest level also was roughly equal to the January average, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index. The year-to year change of -1.8% continued near the weakest in the series' history which extends back to 1990.

During the last ten years there has been a 64% correlation between the year-to-year growth in chain store sales and the growth in general merchandise sales.

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 outlook for sales continued to worsen as the weekly leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-Goldman Sachs fell another 0.8%. It was the fourth straight week of decline.

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

Global Liquidity and Exchange Rates from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 02/07/09 01/31/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 478.6 478.5 -1.8% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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