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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Recover Lost Ground
by Tom Moeller  December 19, 2012

The latest report from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs indicated renewed vigor in consumer spending. Chain store sales jumped 4.3% last week (3.5% y/y) to the highest level since late-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.

Continued growth in sales appears to be on the way. The leading indicator of chain store sales rose 0.3% w/w and the gain pulled the index to another record high. 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.


ICSC-Goldman Sachs (SA, 1977=100) 12/15/12 12/08/12 12/01/12 Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 550.2 527.3 531.0 3.5% 3.2% 2.9% 0.1%
   W/W % 4.3% -0.7 -3.1 -- -- -- --
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