Chain-Store Sales Down 0.8% in Early December

For the first full week of December, weekly chain store sales decreased by 0.8 percent, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. and Goldman Sachs weekly sales index. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales rose by 0.4 percent. 

“Over the last week, the completion rate of holiday gift-buying fell behind last year and with it holiday spending,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC chief economist. “The tough economic and retail environment, which continued into early December, is likely to dominate the full month’s sales performance as well. Given this, ICSC Research expects monthly comparable-store sales will be flat to up 1 percent for December with late holiday shopping driving the month’s overall performance.”

Effective with the current report for the week ending Sept. 27, the U.S. Retail Chain Store Sales Index is compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. and Goldman Sachs. Previously, ICSC was producing the weekly metric and the current compilation is consistent with the prior data set. 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. The standard period used for the index is Sunday through Saturday, even though some retailers use a different weekly accounting period.