Retail sales look good but under the hood not so good

April Retail Sales rose .4% headline, .4% ex auto’s and .4% ex auto’s and gasoline. Ex auto’s were in line with expectations but headline was .2% above and ex auto’s and gasoline was .1% above. Also March was revised higher. Building materials rose by 6.9% after a large 7.8% rise in March, motor vehicles/parts rose by .5% and gas station sales were up .5%. BUT if you take out building materials, auto’s and gasoline sales (a core figure), retail sales were DOWN .2%. Sales in clothing, sporting goods, gen’l merchandise, furniture, electronics and in food/beverages all fell. Thus, on the surface, sales look good but the core figure of ex auto’s, gasoline and building materials fell for the first time since Dec ’09. Also, in terms of retail company equity performance, earnings this week from M, KSS, JWN and JCP has provided us with plenty of info on the retail outlook and state of consumer spending.

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