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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Chain Store Sales Hold On To Early-April Gain
by Tom Moeller April 20, 2010

Consumers still seem interested in spending money after being cooped up indoors this winter. As a result, chain store sales last week held onto the sharp gain early in the month and the y/y change remained at 4.6%, its strongest gain since early-2007.

During the last ten years there has been a 68% correlation between the y/y change in chain store sales and the change in retail sales at general merchandise stores.

That correlation recently has increased.

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.

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 retail sales. The weekly figures are available in Haver's SURVEYW database.

Contrary to the trend in purchases, the leading indicator of chain store sales slipped last week and was down slightly versus one year ago. The composite leading economic indicator is compiled from four series: (1) the MBA's volume index of mortgage applications for home purchase (2) the ABC News/Money magazine's survey of consumer buying conditions (3) new filings for jobless benefits and (4) the 30-year government bond yield.

Issues in Economic Development is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Elizabeth A. Duke and it can be found here.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 04/17/10 04/10/10 04/03/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 513.8 513.0 512.7 4.6% 0.1% 1.4% 2.8%
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