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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Rise Further
by Tom Moeller May 12, 2009

Despite the weakness in the job market, the consumer continues to visit shopping centers putting chain store sales on a firmer footing. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index store sales rose another 0.3% last week after the prior week's 0.7% increase. For the month so far, chain store sales are up 0.3% from April after that month's 1.4% rise from the March average.

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 gains in sales occurred as the outlook brightened. The leading indicator of sales moved to its highest level since January. The year-to-year change has improved to a negative 1.8%, up from the 6% rate of decline last Fall.

Lending Standards in Mortgage Markets from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 05/09/09 05/02/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 492.7 491.3 0.5% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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