What is 'ICSC-UBS Store Sales'

ICSC-UBS Store Sales was the previous name of ICSC-Goldman Store Sales, a weekly economic report published by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs that measured comparable store sales at major U.S. retail chains. The report measured the portion of retail sales attributed to general merchandise, or about 10 percent of all sales.

Because consumer spending typically accounts for about two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP), patterns in retail sales can help predict, and sometimes move, stock and bond markets.


ICSC-UBS Store Sales changed to ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in 2008. The current report surveys mall-based chain retailers and big box stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Macy’s. It does not track online sales.

Because the report only considers general merchandise, it excludes items found in a traditional supermarket such as groceries, household supplies, pet food and other consumable items.

The report is useful in judging how much consumers are spending on non-essentials like fashion clothing and housewares. If the report shows an increase in such spending, it reflects greater consumer confidence.

The data collected to compile the report only represent U.S. store sales. Therefore, the report is not as useful for analyzing the performance of specific retailers, most of which have a global presence. Also, the report doesn't provide any indication of international consumer spending habits.

While the actual methodology is proprietary, the report employs a statistical formula known as geometric weighting, which attempts to account for repeated values.

The report measures both year-over-year and week-over-week sales. The year-over-year data is presented both “raw” and seasonally adjusted to account for fluctuations in holiday dates, weather and other factors.

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales Provides a Weekly Economic Snapshot

The ICSC-Goldman index is published weekly, coming out every Tuesday, so it is a useful indicator for viewing economic activity during major events and holidays. For example, investors tracked the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales data closely after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Is Retail Too Hot, Too Cold, or Just Right?

Investors can use the ICSC-Goldman report in different ways depending on their holdings. For example, a spike in consumer spending often signifies a growing economy, which is good for company profits and growth. As such, stocks sometimes rise on retail growth reported in the ICSC-Goldman report.

On the other hand, excessive economic growth typically indicates a risk of inflation. Indeed one sign of inflation is when consumers start buying more now, on the belief that goods will cost more tomorrow. Inflation brings higher interest rates, which lowers the price of bonds.

  1. Retail Sales

    Retail sales are an aggregated measure of the sales of retail ...
  2. Store of Value

    A store of value is a commodity, asset, or money that retains ...
  3. Same-Store Sales

    Same-store sales measures the sales of a company's existing stores ...
  4. Hypermarket

    A hypermarket is a retail store that combines a department store ...
  5. Walmart Effect

    The Walmart Effect is a term used to refer to the economic impact ...
  6. Growth Rates

    Growth rates are the percentage change of a variable within a ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    19 Retailers Are Shedding Stores So Far in 2017

    As consumers increasingly spend money on restaurants and travel, mall-based retailers feel the pinch.
  2. Investing

    5 Retailers Set to Close More Stores in 2016 (FINL, GPS)

    Discover retail stores that have already announced plans to close stores in 2016. Some expect a new economic downturn, which may lead more stores to close.
  3. Investing

    Why Macy's, Nordstrom, Target May Rise on Holiday Sales

    With the holiday season just around the corner, a number of traditional retailers could get a boost.
  4. Trading

    Are Dollar Stores Really A Bargain?

    It's hard to resist an item that's $1. We tell you when you should fight the urge.
  5. Investing

    What's Causing the Death of the Retail Store?

    Brick and mortar retail stores continue to close, but is e-commerce really to blame?
  6. Personal Finance

    Sneaky Strategies That Fuel Overspending

    Find out how to avoid six of the worst vender ploys this holiday shopping season.
  7. Investing

    Retail Sector: Losers Outweigh Winners in Q1

    Retailers have been having a tough time since the holidays—and more pain is expected in Q1 results.
  8. Personal Finance

    Comparing Online And In-Store Prices

    While every retailer is different, there are several factors that affect where you'll get a better deal.
  9. Investing

    Dollar General Buying Dollar Express Chain

    At a time when many retailers have been closing stores, Dollar General (NYSE: DG) has been adding them at a furious pace. The discount chain plans to open 1,000 new locations in 2017, after ...
  1. Which economic factors most affect the demand for consumer goods?

    Understand how key economic factors such as inflation, unemployment, interest rates and consumer confidence affect the level ... Read Answer >>
  2. Hard and soft goods in the retail sector

    Understand the difference between hardlines and softlines offered by various retailers. Find out about the characteristics ... Read Answer >>
  3. When should I use seasonally adjusted data from the consumer price index (CPI)?

    Learn what seasonally adjusted data is, how it is determined, and when it should be used to evaluate the information gathered ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are some limitations of the consumer price index (CPI)?

    Despite being followed so relentlessly, the consumer price index has its limitations and is an imperfect a measure of inflation ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between revenue and sales?

    Revenue is the income a company generates before any expenses are taken out. Sales are the proceeds from the selling of goods ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center