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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Are Up in Early March
by Tom Moeller March 10, 2009

Chain store sales ticked up 0.2% last week and began this month slightly above the February average, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index. A moderate rebound in consumer spending is indicated by the 3.0% increase in the level of spending from the late-January low.

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 another 0.2% last week and for all of February fell 2.3% from January (-4.4% y/y).

Inflation Targeting—Central Bank Practice Overseas from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 03/07/09 02/28/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 484.1 483.0 -0.9% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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