ICSC: Retail Sales Picked Up after Shutdown Ended

ShoppingNew York—If you think you breathed a sign of relief when Congress finally ended the shutdown and voted a debt ceiling increase, retailers can breathe a little easier, too.

According to the the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs channel checking survey, the comparable store sales index for the week ended Oct. 19 rose 1.4% from the prior week and by 3.2% from a year earlier—the strongest gain in five weeks.

“As the federal government shutdown came to an end, consumers were seemingly back in a mood to shop,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist. “The shopping environment was helped by cold weather in the West and the Columbus Day holiday as catalysts for spending, but the ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer channel-checking survey suggested that demand was very uneven by store type.”

Longer Lasting Effects?

With more than a week left to October, ICSC forecast that comparable store sales for the month will rise between 3% to 4%. September comp sales rose 3.5% compared to September 2012.

Niemira said September figures were down due to a 1.8% decline in apparel sales.

While the ICSC report is good news as retailers step up their early holiday sales promotions, others believe the economy and the partisan bickering over the budget hurt the United States’ standing and many consumers are even more concerned about their own spending.

The Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot is produced by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs. This index measures U.S. nominal 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 a sampling of leading retail chain stores, which also is compiled by ICSC.



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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com