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Economy in Brief

Weekly Chain Store Sales Remain Flat
by Tom Moeller July 21, 2009

The strengthening of chain store sales around the July 4th holiday faded as the month progressed. During the latest week, chain store sales rose 0.5% but that recovered just half of the prior week's decline. So far in July sales have increased 0.7% since June after that month's 0.3% decline and a 0.2% May downtick.

During the last ten years there has been a 69% correlation between the year-to-year growth in chain store sales and the growth in general merchandise sales. The 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 improvement in sales seems limited. The leading indicator of sales ticked up 0.3% (-2.4% y/y) during the latest week and it has been flat-to-lower all this year.

Exit Strategies for the Federal Reserve from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 07/18/09 07/11/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 491.7 489.4 -0.3% 1.4% 2.8% 3.3%
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