Consumers redeeming their gift cards helped get the new year off to a positive start as sales increased by 0.7 percent for the week ending Jan. 6, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. and UBS Securities LLC.
On a year-over-year basis, sales were 3.4 percent stronger than the adjusted pace in the prior week, according to the survey. This was the strongest gain since Oct. 14, 2006, when the sales pace rose to 3.9 percent.
“The year began on a surprisingly positive note as consumers continue to take advantage of retailers’ post-holiday sales,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “For January, we expect comp-store sales to increase by 2.5-to-3 percent, which is likely to be helped by forecasts of very cold seasonal weather and gift card redemptions.”
The ICSC-UBS Weekly U.S. Retail Chain Store Sales Index is a joint publication between ICSC and UBS Securities LLC. The index measures nominal same-store or comparable-store sales excluding restaurant and vehicle demand. The weekly index is constructed using sales-weighted geometric average growth rates to preserve long-term consistency and is statistically benchmarked to a broad-based monthly retail industry sales aggregate that currently represents approximately 75 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.