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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Tick Higher
by Tom Moeller  June 5, 2012

Chain store sales inched up 0.4% last week (2.8% y/y) following sharp declines in six of the prior seven weeks. Sales began June 1.0% below the May average. 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 slipped 0.2% and was at the lowest level since late February. 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) 06/02/12 05/26/12 05/19/12 Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 530.7 528.5 531.4 2.8% 3.2% 2.9% 0.1%
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