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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Backpedal
by Tom Moeller June 2, 2009

Consumers lost their mood for spending at the end of last month. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs Index, store sales last week gave back with a 0.6% decline virtually all of the prior week's increase. That left sales for the entire month of May down 0.2% 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 also were tepid last week as indicated by the leading indicator of sales. It fell a modest 0.3% in the latest week. The May average stands just below April.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 05/30/09 05/23/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 487.4 490.5 0.6% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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