Bargain Hunters Boost Weekly Chain Store Sales

Weekly U.S. chain store sales increased by 1.4 percent for the week ending Jan. 3, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. and Goldman Sachs weekly sales index. Despite the solid weekly increase, sales on a year-over-year basis declined by 0.8 percent.

“Bargain shoppers were out in force between Christmas and New Year’s taking advantage of retailers’ need to clear out seasonal merchandise.  As a result weekly sales increased in the final week of the fiscal month,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC chief economist. “Though the weekly increase does lend some comfort to how overall sales will fare for December, ICSC Research expects comparable-store sales will decline by approximately one percent for the month,” Niemira added.

This index measures U.S. nominal same-store sales excluding restaurant and vehicle demand. The weekly index is constructed as a sales-weighted geometric average growth rate to preserve long-term consistency and is statistically benchmarked to a broad-based monthly retail industry sales aggregate that currently represents approximately 40 retail chain stores, which also is compiled by ICSC. A representative sample of those major retailers has been used as a control group to extrapolate the weekly sales index. As such, the weekly index statistically represents industry sales and is not just a sum of sales for a handful of retailers.