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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Firm During April
by Tom Moeller April 28, 2009

Consumer spending firmed this month. Though chain store sales slipped 0.7% last week, the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index indicated that on average April sales so far rose 1.4% from the March average following that month's tepid 0.3% uptick. The year-to-year change in the indicator remained, however, negative.

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

Too big to fail from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/24/09 04/17/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 488.0 491.3 -1.7% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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