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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Chain Store Sales Slip
by Tom Moeller March 2, 2010

Weekly chain store sales gave back a piece of their prior week's improvement with a 0.8% slip. Since the spring of last year, sales have gyrated around a sideways trend.

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.

During the last ten years there has been a 69% correlation between the year-to-year growth in chain store sales and the growth in general merchandise retail sales. The weekly figures are available in Haver's SURVEYW database.

The leading indicator of chain store sales has been somewhat weaker and last week moved to the low end of its year-long range. This 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-UBS (SA, 1977=100) 02/20/10 02/13/10 02/06/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total Weekly Chain Store Sales 490.4 479.5 487.1 0.9% 0.1% 1.4% 2.8%
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