July Retail Sales rose .5%, right in line with expectations but taking out volatile auto sales, sales were better, also up .5% but vs a forecasted rise of .3%. Looking at sales ex auto’s and gasoline saw a gain of .3%, .1% better than estimated. The pure core figure, which also takes out volatile building materials, was up .3%. Also positively, sales in June were revised higher. Sales gained in furniture, electronics, food/beverages, health/personal care, auto’s, clothing and online retailers. The drag in sales were from department stores, sporting goods and building materials. Bottom line, while we saw auto sales and retail comps last week, the market will take better than forecasted numbers which we got today. A certain help to retail sales was an average $3.65 gallon of gasoline vs $3.90 just 2 months prior. To quantify, the difference is about $25b annualized in gasoline savings. With this said, there should be no denying that retail is still a very challenging business due to reasons we all know and ever more so now with what’s gone on in the world over the past few weeks.
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