WASHINGTON (MNI) – The following is the commentary from the
ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot released Tuesday:

With the last full week of holiday shopping before us, consumers
rushed to finish their holiday shopping this past week which ended with
“Super Saturday” — December 18 — one of the busiest shopping days of
the year. As a result, for the week ending December 18, weekly retail
sales rose sharply by 1.7 percent, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs
Weekly Chain Store Sales Index. In addition, retail sales, on a
year-over-year basis, also improved and increased by an impressive 4.2

“Holiday-gift spending shot up over the last week with 73.9% of
consumers, on average, completing their shopping, up from 56.6% in the
prior week, which helped to propel weekly sales results up,” said
Michael Niemira, ICSC director of research and chief economist. “Now
that we are down to the wire, consumers have stepped up their shopping
pace, as well as their purchases. All and all, retail shopping trends
are shaping up to be very favorable for holiday sales, as well as
December sales performance, for retailers,” Niemira added.

For December, ICSC Research anticipates the month will post a good
performance with a year-over-year comparable-store sales growth increase
of between 3.0 to 3.5 percent, industry-wide. Given the strong November
performance and promising trends in early December, ICSC previously has
revised its November-December holiday-season sales forecast upward by
0.5 percentage points to a range of 3.5 to 4.0 percent or potentially a
tad above that range. Holiday store-sales growth is expected to be the
strongest since at least 2006.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **