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ICSC Chain Store Sales increased 2.6% in Feb 19 Wk
The ICSC-Goldman Sachs (ICSC-GS) chain-store sales index for the latest week ending on February 19 jumped by 2.6%, which more than offset the prior week’s decline. The recent rollercoaster pattern is not uncommon at times of low volume and high noise from weather and other seemingly small factors that get amplified. During the past week ending Saturday, the “warm weather tease” during the period seemingly helped to propel customer traffic, according to the ICSC-GS consumer tracking survey. Weather Trends International (WTI) reported that national temperatures over the last week were considerably warmer than last year by 10.0F and 7.5F warmer than the long-term national average.
Temperatures, WTI observed, “soared into the 70s and 80s across the South, while across the North Central states and Northeast highs climbed into the 50s and 60s making this the second warmest [comparable or third] week of February in 19 years. [However,] the West turned cold and wet as a series of strong Pacific storms brought valley rain and mountain snow, which [may have been somewhat] favorable for winter clearance.” But consumer discretionary purchasing power continued to be whittled by rising gasoline prices. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline rose to $3.189 per gallon on February 21 from its prior weeks reading–which was up 20.1% from the same week of the prior year and was the highest since October 6, 2008 ($3.484).
Looking ahead to February’s fiscal-month sales, ICSC projects that industry sales will post a gain of 2.5% to 3.0%.
Posted: February 23, 2011 Wednesday 07:45 AM