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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chain Store Sales Continue to Lose Forward Momentum
by Tom Moeller  May 21, 2013

Consumer spending growth continues to back away from the recent peak. The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs reported that chain store sales ticked up just 0.2% (3.1% y/y) last week following two weeks of sharp decline. As a result, store sales so far this month are 1.9% below the April average which increased 3.8% m/m to a record high. During the last ten years there has been a 61% correlation between the y/y change in chain store sales and the change in retail sales at general merchandise stores. That correlation recently has declined.

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 chain store figures can be found in Haver's SURVEYW database. 

Fiscal Policy. Oy! (With Reference to Ben Bernanke, Ken Arrow, Thomas Jefferson, William Shakespeare and the Oracle of Omaha) is last week's speech by Dallas Fed President & CEO Richard W. Fisher and they can be found here.

ICSC-Goldman Sachs (SA, 1977=100) 05/18/13 05/11/13 05/04/13 Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 547.9 546.9 558.0 3.1% 3.0% 3.2% 2.9%
   W/W % 0.2 -2.0 -1.0 -- -- -- --
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