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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Soften
by Tom Moeller  November 13, 2012

There's been some w/w stability in chain store sales of late. Nevertheless, the 0.7% uptick in last week's sales left the November average 3.5% below July. 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 purchases at chain stores was unchanged w/w but that left the 2.7% y/y change below the early March peak of 5.3%. 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) 11/10/12 11/03/12 10/27/12 Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 532.2 528.4  529.7 1.8% 3.2% 2.9% 0.1%
   W/W % 0.7 -0.2 0.5 -- -- -- --
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