"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Retail Sales

We've had hints about this subject for several weeks now, mostly from the Redbook Reports and the ICSC-Goldman Reports.  This, however, is the burly big brother of these reports.  Retail Sales looks at changes in total receipts at stores that sell durable and nondurable goods, and all stores sell one or both of those categories of goods.
January 2011 had disappointing results for retail sales.  Overall sales were up only 0.3%, and were still only up 0.3% ex-auto.  For February, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are feeling extremely optimistic, looking for a 1.0% increase in sales (and a 0.7% ex-auto increase).  Turning to the US Census Bureau for the actual report, we see a happy degree of accuracy in the prediction.  Overall retail sales increased 1.0% for February and, if you deduct auto sales from the figures, they were still up 0.7%.
Too bad there's an earthquake and tsunami in Japan that's pointing out the folly of men and preventing traders from getting excited about this chunk of good news.

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