Redbook reports weak retail activity in the May 1 week. The report's year-on-year rate fell to plus 1.7 percent vs. a plus 2.2 percent rate in the prior week for the weakest reading since February. The report pegs month-over-month sales at minus 2.2 percent, below their target for minus 1.9 percent and pointing to weakness for the ex-auto ex-gas reading in the Commerce Department's retail sales report. Redbook said some stores complained of weak traffic and it noted weather and flood effects in the Southeast. This report contrasts with ICSC-Goldman which shows less weakness. Chain-store results on Thursday will settle the issue, setting up expectations for the April retail sales report.
A weekly measure of comparable store sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores. It is a less consistent indicator of retail sales than the weekly ICSC-Goldman index. It is also calculated differently than other indicators. For instance, figures for the first week of the month are compared with the average for the entire previous month. When two weeks are available, then these are compared with the average for the previous month, and so on through the month. It might be more useful to compare year-over-year figures since these are indeed compared to the comparable week a year ago. This index is correlated with the general merchandise portion of retail sales covering about 10 percent of total retail sales.
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