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Retail Sales: Rebound After Slow November

January 16, 2020

Bottom Line: Core retail sales increased more than expected in December led by gains in building and garden supply stores and electronics and appliance stores. While month-on-month gains for nonstore retailers were modest in the holiday shopping month, gains relative to year ago levels were quite strong. Overall the 4th Quarter was still rather modest. The Q4 average for core sales ex gasoline stations and ex building materials is slightly below its Q3 level, suggesting that real consumer spending was in-line to slightly lower than its 3.1% Q3 pace.

Retail Sales ROSE by 0.3% in December, compared with the market consensus for an increase of 0.3%. The November estimate was revised from 0.19% to 0.27%. Retail sales are now 5.8% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 1.5%. Spending at motor vehicle dealers fell by 1.3%.

Core Retail Sales ROSE by 0.7%, compared with the market consensus for an increase 0.5%. The November estimate was revised lower from 0.12% to -0.05%. Core retail sales are now 6.3% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 1.2%.

  • In December, gains were seen at gasoline stations, primarily due to high gasoline prices (+2.8%), building materials (+1.4%), clothing stores (+1.6%), general merchandise stores (+0.6%).
Core Retail Sales ex Gasoline ROSE by 0.51% and are now 5.7% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was a moderate 1.6%

Article by Contingent Macro Advisors