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

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Retail Sales

And now, it's time for the US Census Bureau to tell us about the changes in total receipts at stores that sell durable and nondurable goods.
If you recall, March results were mixed.  Overall retail sales were up only 0.4% (missing expectations), but ex-auto retail sales were up 0.8% (beating expectations).  In other words, sales were pretty good if you weren't trying to sell cars..  Furniture and home furnishings had the best month (up 3.6%) followed by gasoline stations (up 2.6%).
For April, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are moderately confident.  They're calling for a 0.6% increase in retail sales, and for the retail sales less autos to still increase 0.6%.
And what does the report say?  Well, once again, the results are mixed.  Overall retail sales were up 0.5% (missing expectations), but ex-auto retail sales were up 0.6% (meeting expectations).  In other words, once again sales weren't bad if you weren't selling cars.  Gas stations did best overall, with a 2.7% increase in sales, while sporting goods, hobby, book & music store sales had the worst month (with sales slipping 1.9%).

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