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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Reverse Holiday Improvement
by Tom Moeller  January 8, 2013

The latest report from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs showed consumers' inclination to spend over the holidays evaporated with the new year. Chain store sales plunged 4.2% last week (+4.0% y/y) following a 2.5% jump during all of December. 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.

Prospects for sales also deteriorated. The leading indicator of chain store sales fell 0.6% (+2.7% y/y), down for the third straight week. 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) 01/04/13 12/28/12 12/21/12 Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 534.2 557.6 534.0 4.0% 3.0% 3.2% 2.9%
   W/W % -4.2% 0.6 0.7 -- -- --
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