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Weekly retail sales rise again

By Press Releases
April 13, 2010 8:03 AM

NEW YORK (April 13, 2010) – Retailers continued to see their sales rise for the fourth consecutive week after adjusting for the typical post-Easter seasonal dip.

Overall weekly sales improved once again (+0.1%) according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly sales index for the period ending April 10. On a year-over-year basis sales moderated from the prior week’s pace, however, it remained at a hearty 4.0 percent.

“Sales were impacted by the usual post-Easter seasonal weakness, but adjusted for that, sales edged up for the fourth consecutive gain and were helped by seasonally warm weather that continued to drive spring-merchandise demand,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC director of research and chief economist.

“Although the reported sales figures for the full fiscal month of April are likely to be close to flat or off slightly, the two-month performance appears on a 4.0 percent track—which is pretty healthy,” Niemira added.

The Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot is produced by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs. This index measures U.S. nominal same-store or comparable-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. The weekly sales index is presented on an adjusted basis to account for normal seasonality and to counter other data anomalies.

Weekly seasonal adjustment is at best difficult for chain store sales given that retailers can and often do shift promotions to counter typical shifts in the calendar. Nonetheless, the approach to weekly seasonal adjustment used follows from the Piser Method, which was popular in the early 1930s and became the standard for weekly adjustment.

 


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