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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Weaken Further
by Tom Moeller  May 30, 2012

Chain store sales fell 0.5% last week (+2.9% y/y), down for the fifth straight week. Sales have fallen 2.4% so far in May following a 3.4% rise in April. During the last ten years there has been a 72% 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.

General merchandise store sales account for 15% of total retail sales. 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 leading indicator of chain store sales rose 0.4% following two months of decline. 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.

The chain store sales data are in Haver's SURVEYW.

ICSC-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 05/26/12 05/19/12 05/12/12 Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 528.5 531.4 540.4 2.9% 3.2% 2.9% 0.1%
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