The Chain Store Sales Index provides information on the monthly sales volumes from chain stores and is released on the first Thursday of the month. Put out by the International Council of Shopping Centers, this monthly report on the U.S. retail industry’s sales performance is based on publicly-available sales for 14 chain stores. Industry sales aggregates are compiled for “comparable-store” or “same-store” sales and for total store sales and are presented as an index. ICSC is the trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 60,000 members in over 90 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials.
The Chain Store Sales Index for April posted a gain of 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. According to Michael P. Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC, “It is most likely being boosted by a stronger household wealth effect from higher home and stock market prices.”
Chain stores represent about 10 percent of overall consumer spending, which has been modestly increasing over the past few months. Unfortunately, this spending has been accompanied by a reduction in the savings rate which is likely being encouraged by the extremely loose monetary policies being conducted by the Fed. Without savings growth, the economy is unlikely to recover at a reasonable pace.