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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Rise W/W But Remain Well Below Holiday Peak
by Tom Moeller  February 5, 2013

The latest report from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs indicated that consumers continue to spend cautiously. Chain store sales rose 2.4% last week (2.6% y/y) following a 3.2% pullback during all of January. 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 slightly. The leading indicator of chain store sales fell 0.8% (+4.7% y/y) after two weeks of increase. 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 figures can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database.


ICSC-Goldman Sachs (SA, 1977=100) 02/02/13 01/26/12 01/19/12 Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 530.0 517.8 523.2 2.6% 3.0% 3.2% 2.9%
   W/W % 2.4 -1.0 -1.5 -- -- -- --
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