DEFINITION of 'Chain Store Sales'

An indicator that provides information on the monthly sales volumes from chain stores. Chain store sales, released on the first Thursday of the month, correspond to about 10% of retail sales, and are thought to be a good indicator of trends in consumer spending and retail sales.

Chain store sales are reported as a percentage change from the same month one year earlier.

BREAKING DOWN 'Chain Store Sales'

Because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of gross domestic product, knowing the trends in consumer sales can help an investor get a feel for the direction of the overall economy.

Chain store sales, along with many other consumer spending indicators, can help investors predict movements in the stock and bond markets. Strong economic growth, signaled by strong consumer spending, is good news for the stock markets as corporate profits increase. In the bond markets, too much growth (inflation) could hurt prices.

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