Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Decline in Retail Sales is a "Surprise"... Really?

I was out of the matrix yesterday, thus getting to this now.

Retail sales fell, which came at no "surprise" here. Just look at the crash in wholesale sales YET rising inventory to sales levels over the past few months. And this was the explanation for the market crash? Why do we need to make an economic excuse for any and every market move. Peter Boockvar via The Big Picture sums it up nicely (bold mine):

April Retail Sales were weaker than expected, falling .4% headline and .5% ex auto’s vs the consensus of flat and up .2%. Also, March was revised lower both headline and ex auto’s. Sales ex auto’s and gasoline fell .3%. Sales fell in furniture, electronics, food/beverages, department stores, and online. Gains were seen in restaurants/bars, sporting goods, health/personal care and in building materials.

All the green thumb gardeners out there can count as many shoots as they want but the US economy still comes down to the activities of the US consumer and the consumer is still retrenching, paying down debt, saving and getting their credit lines cut. This is a long term process and with a still difficult labor market, won’t change anytime soon.
Month over Month


Year over Year (psst... it's getting worse)


Source: Census