Retail Sales Fall 9.8%

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To the surprise of only economists, Retail Sales plummeted in December 2008, falling for the 6th consecutive month. Sales dropped 2.7% on the month, and nearly 10% from the same period last year. If you didn’t know any better, you might think there was a recession or something going on (Its a mystery!).

If you recall back on December 1, we warned investors to ignore the nonsensical spin from, both the National Retail Federation and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

November sales were also revised lower. Ex-Autos, sales fell 3.1% for the month. Health and personal care were the sole growth areas. Going ex-autos and ex-gasoline, sales fell 1.5%.

Here are the specific details:

• December 2008 Sales = $343.2 billion

• December 2008 Sales down 2.7% from November and down 9.8%  percent versus December 2007

• 2008 total sales (12 months of calendar year) were essentially flat — down 0.1% percent from 2007, less than the margin of error.

• Total sales for the October through December 2008 holiday shopping period were down 7.7% from the same period a year ago.

• Gasoline stations sales were down 35.5% from December 2007, and off 15.9%;

• Auto sales were down 22.4% from last year.

• Sales were down 1.8% at furniture retailers; 2.5% at clothing stores; 1.0% at electronic stores; 2.2% at eating and drinking establishments; 0.4% at sporting goods, hobby and book stores; 1.3% at general merchandise stores; 1.4% at food and beverage stores; 2.9% at building material and garden supplies dealers; and 1.9% at mail order and Internet retailers.

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via Barron’s Econoday

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Previously:
Spinning Black Friday Retail Sales (December 1st, 2008)
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2008/12/spinning-black-friday-retail-sales/

December Retail Sales Ho Ho Hum (January 8th, 2009)
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/01/december-retail-sales-ho-ho-hum/

Sources:
ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL TRADE AND FOOD SERVICES
Census, December 2008
http://www.census.gov/marts/www/marts_current.html

Full Publication in PDF
http://www.census.gov/marts/www/marts_current.pdf

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