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. Chain Store Sales

    An indicator that provides information on the monthly sales volumes ...
  2. Retail Sales

    Retail sales are an aggregated measure of the sales of retail ...
  3. Comps

    "Comps" is a buzzword that refers to a retail firm's comparable ...
  4. Retail Industry ETF

    A retail industry ETF is an exchange-traded fund that invests ...
  5. Base Year

    A base year is the first of a series of years in an economic ...
  6. Scientific Retailing

    The use of technology by retailers in order to make decisions ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    99 Cents Only Stores Profits Edge Up

    Dollar retailer 99 Cents Only increased revenue and profits despite product-cost increases.
  2. Investing

    Macy's Is Closing 68 Stores (M)

    The retail behemoth is closing "unproductive" locations and streamlining its operations by laying off workers.
  3. Investing

    The World's Top 10 Retailers (WMT, COST)

    Read about some of the top retail companies in the world, and learn a little about the products they sell and the markets and customers they serve.
  4. Investing

    Choosing The Winners In The Click-And-Mortar Game

    E-tailing has changed the way consumers do nearly everything. Do you know how to pick the best retailer?
  5. Investing

    Retail Workforce Ailing Amid Wave of Closures

    The retail industry's massive store closures are approaching those of the Great Recession, leaving workers scrambling for new jobs.
  6. Investing

    Can Samsung Compete With Apple's Retail Stores?

    This strategic move may just shoot Samsung to an uncatchable spot in the consumer technology sector.
  7. Insights

    The Top Ten Economic Indicators In The UK

    We discuss ten key economic indicators for the United Kingdom, the world’s 6th-largest economy.
  8. Investing

    Retail CFOs Expect 5% Sales Growth This Year

    Execs are optimistic that consumer confidence and digital sales will keep retail healthy this year.
  9. Investing

    Dollar General Buys a Big Rival's Failed Stores

    One retailer's failed experiment has become another chain's opportunity. Dollar General (NYSE: DG) has purchased 41 former Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) Express locations across 11 states. The company ...
  1. Is the retail sector also affected by seasonal factors?

    Find out how the retail industry is affected by seasonal patterns in consumer tastes, especially for companies that tailor ... Read Answer >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. What are some limitations of the consumer price index (CPI)?

    Explore some of the basic limitations of the widely used economic indicator, the consumer price index, or CPI, and examine ... Read Answer >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. Consumer Confidence Vs. Consumer Sentiment

    Is there any real difference between consumer confidence and consumer sentiment? Read Answer >>
Trading Center