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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Pick Up Early This Month
by Tom Moeller April 7, 2009

After a weak March, the consumer may be showing signs of returning to the stores. The International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index indicated that sales in early April rose 0.6% after the 1.1% jump during the prior week. As a result, sales began this month 1.2% above the March average following that month's tepid 0.3% uptick.

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.

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. These weekly figures are available in Haver's SURVEYW database.

The outlook for sales continued cautiously optimistic. The leading indicator of sales has been moving sideways since early February.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/03/09 03/27/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 489.5 486.5 -0.3% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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