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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weekly Retail Sales

This weeks retail sales numbers are out.  Retail sales M/M measures the change in total value of sales at the retail level each month.  Core Retail Sales M/M measures the change in the total value of sales at the retail level, excluding autos.  These are viewed as a gauge of consumer spending, therefore an indicator of the health of the economy.  Core Retail Sales' removal of the auto sector is done to clear distortions in sales trends due to the volatile auto industry.  I think this becomes a bigger issue as an indicator over time as the younger generation is learning that saving is vital to their success and this economy can no longer consume what we don't need or cannot afford.  Core Retail Sales beat estimates of 0.3% to com in at 0.6% and Retail Sales stayed the same with a forecast of 0.4% and actual coming in at 0.4%. 
Interesting thing to note before I go into the numbers.  Revisions from June actually puts the prior months Retail Sales number at 0.13% instead of 0.4%, that would have missed forecasts and would have impacted markets negatively.  You need to watch the revisions to really see what is happening in the economy, not advanced estimates like these.  Another note, a lot of subcategory estimates were not available, which will change the numbers in revisions (up or down).  

Having said all that, the categories that did the best last month were; Food & Beverate +1.28%, Health & Personal Care +0.59%, Gas Stations +1.91%, Clothing +1.14%, Sporting Goods +0.9%, General Merchandise +0.4%, Food Services & Drinking Places +0.12%, Non-Store Retailers (Electronic Shopping) +0.57%.   Categories that did poorly last month were; Autos -0.67%, Furniture & Home Furnishings -0.49%, Electronics & Appliances -1.1%, Building Material & Garden Equipment 0%.
As you can see the areas doing well were pretty must have things like food, clothing (cold weather and school), Gas and Personal Care.  Outliers from this theory are the Sporting Goods and Food Services & Drinking Places, but could be attributed to the final summer month and sales on sporting goods and vacation season wrapping up.  Oddly 45 minutes after this news hit, Dow pre-market is down -13 points.  Looks like somebody actually read a report finally (we'll see with the day ahead).

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