Monday, November 16, 2009

Retail Sales - Not Rosy Despite What the News Media Tell You

Just how much consumers are spending can be an important window into the prospects of the economy.  However, there is a risk relying on advance retail sales as it is based on quite a small sampling.

That being said, here is the key takeaway on the "rosy" numbers reported this morning:

Lets look at the year over year numbers first.  Total retail sales are down around 3% year over  year from a terrible October last year.  What green shoots exactly are we talking about?

Ex Autos picture is even clearer and down worse than the total number.  What's up? Autos, courtesy of the clunker program.

Now for a review of the month over month:
Change from prior month for Total Retail Sales: +4.7
Change in autos: +4.0

The majority of the increase in retail sales was a result of a rise in auto sales.

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