US DATA: For the week ending November 17, weekly retail sales
slipped slightly by 0.3%, according to the International Council of
Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales
Index. However, on a year-over-year basis, the pace of retail sales
improved and rose to a 2.5% pace. “Sales slowed sequentially ahead of
the Black Friday bargain bonanza that retailers have in store for
consumers this year” said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of
research and chief economist. “As usual, consumers are geared for these
promotions and are eagerly awaiting Black Friday’s arrival, which should
help lift overall sales for the month,” Niemira added.