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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Recover
by Tom Moeller May 27, 2009

Perhaps consumer spending is holding together after an earlier indication of retrenchment. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index, store sales last week recovered most of the prior week's decline with a 0.8% increase. The news for the whole month is far from strong, however, as chain store sales in May are down just slightly 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.

Prospects for spending similarly are far from ebullient as indicated by the leading indicator of sales. It increased a modest 0.3% in the latest week, a gain which also lifted the May average to just below April.

The Persistent Effects of a False News Shock from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 05/16/09 05/09/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 490.5 486.8 0.5% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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