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Retail Sales: December Numbers Are A Huge Disappointment

January 15th, 2016

retail etfDoug Short:  The Census Bureau’s Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that seasonally adjusted sales in December decreased 0.1% month-over-month and are up 2.2% year-over-year. Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) also declined 0.1% MoM and are up only 1.2% YoY.

The Investing.com forecasts were 0.1% for Headline and 0.2% for Core Sales.

The chart below is a log-scale snapshot of retail sales since the early 1990s. The two exponential regressions through the data help us to evaluate the long-term trend of this key economic indicator.

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Retail Sales Trends

The year-over-year percent change provides another perspective on the historical trend. Here is the headline series.

Retail Sales YoY

Here is the year-over-year version of Core Retail Sales.

Core Retail Sales YoY
Retail Sales: “Control” Purchases

The next two charts illustrate retail sales “Control” purchases, which is an even more “Core” view of retail sales. This series excludes Motor Vehicles & Parts, Gasoline, Building Materials as well as Food Services & Drinking Places.

Control Sales Trends

Here is the same series year-over-year. Note the highlighted values at the start of the two recessions since the inception of this series in the early 1990s.

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