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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Up Again Last Week
by Tom Moeller February 24 2009

The consumer may be getting back on his feet. Chain store sales rose 0.6% last week (Feb.21) after the prior week's 0.9% increase, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index. The latest increases lifted sales so far this month by 0.9% above the January average which had risen slightly from December.

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

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, however, remains far from robust. The weekly leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-Goldman Sachs ticked up just slightly last week and so far this month is down 2.3% from January (-3.4% y/y).

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 02/21/09 02/14/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 485.9 482.8 -0.8% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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