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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Dipped Last Week, But Rose For The Month
by Tom Moeller March 3, 2009

Chain store sales dipped 0.6% last week (Feb.28) and that did reverse the prior week's increase, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index. But the combination of large gains at the end of January and further, modest February increases raised sales for all of last month by 1.0% above the January average.

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 cautious. The weekly leading indicator of chain store sales from ICSC-Goldman Sachs slipped 0.2% last week and so far for February was down 2.3% from January (-3.4% y/y).

The Recent Increase in the Volatility of Economic Indicators from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 02/28/09 02/21/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 483.0 485.9 -0.8% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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