Retail Sales

April Retail Sales were weaker than expected, falling .4% headline and
.5% ex auto’s vs the consensus of flat and up .2%. Also, March was
revised lower both headline and ex auto’s. Sales ex auto’s and gasoline
fell .3%. Sales fell in furniture, electronics, food/beverages,
department stores, and online. Gains were seen in restaurants/bars,
sporting goods, health/personal care and in building materials. All the
green thumb gardeners out there can count as many shoots as they want
but the US economy still comes down to the activities of the US consumer
and the consumer is still retrenching, paying down debt, saving and
getting their credit lines cut. This is a long term process and with a
still difficult labor market, won’t change anytime soon.

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