Retail Sales Still Stink

Before we take a look at the Retail Sales data, let’s step back and see if we can explain why we even track this data. We want to know:

-What the consumer is doing with their money;

-How comfortable people are with their current economic situation;

-What potential jobs are being created;

-What sort of tax revenue will be coming into the government’s coffers;

-What the corporate profit picture will look like.

I bring these elements up because there is a tendency to read the headline, get all excited, and draw the wrong conclusion.

Monthly Retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.6% — the best since January 2009. Year-over-year, retail sales were down 9%.

As always, there was a little hair on the data: Sales data was inflated by rising gasoline prices (+5.0%), plus an auto sales bounce from record low levels. Note that Retail sales are seasonally but not inflation adjusted.

-Ex-Autos, (+2.3%), sales grew 0.3%.
-Ex-Gasoline, sales gained 0.3%.

Back out both autos and gas, and sales in June fell 0.2% — the fourth straight monthly decline.


via Barron’s Econoday

via Calculated Risk


Retail sales score best gain in five months, U.S. data show
Greg Robb
MarketWatch, July 14 2009

U.S. Producer Prices Rose in June as Gasoline Surged
Bob Willis
Bloomberg, July 14 2009

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