The International Council of Shopping Centers Store Sales Index, also known as the “ICSC-Goldman Sachs Index”, is a measure of comparable store sales at major retail chains, published by the International Council of Shopping Centers, and is related to the general merchandise portion of retail sales. This index is correlated with the general merchandise portion of retail sales covering only about 10 percent of total retail sales.
The pattern in consumer spending is often the foremost influence on stock and bond markets. For stocks, strong economic growth translates to healthy corporate profits and higher stock prices. For bonds, the focus is whether economic growth goes overboard and leads to inflation. Ideally, the economy walks that fine line between strong growth and excessive (inflationary) growth.
The ICSC-Goldman is one of the more timely indicators of consumer spending, since it is reported every week. It gets extra attention around the holiday season when retailers make most of their profits. It is also a useful indicator when special factors can cause economic activity to momentarily slide. For instance, it was widely watched in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita which hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005. The ICSC-Goldman Sachs store sales series previously was known as ICSC-UBS before Goldman Sach’s involvement with ICSC.