Another week, another storm seemed to derail the consumers’ ability to shop, which in turn was accentuated since January is a low-volume month for sales. The ICSC-Goldman Sachs (ICSC-GS) chain-store sales index for the latest week ending on January 29–which is also the end of the fiscal year for most retailers–dropped by 1.0% from the prior week as the year-over-year spending pace weakened as well.
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ICSC’s Weekly U.S. Retail Chain Store Sales Snapshot currently is based on the ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly index, which 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. A representative sample of major retailers is used as a control group to extrapolate the weekly sales index.
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 here follows from the Piser Method, which was popular in the early 1930s and became the standard for weekly adjustment.
Historical data are available through ICSC’s e-Data facility.
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Niemira, Michael P. “ICSC-UBS Weekly Chain Store Sales Index: History, Methodology and Use,” Research Review, Vol. 11 (No. 3), Fall 2004, pp. 8-13.