Reclaiming Common Sense

It's the Economy, not the E-Comey-y

The Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) was released this Friday at the same time as the Consumer Price Index was released. The data released today was the Advance April data, the preliminary March data, and the final February data. The trends that we have seen over the past few months and years that are undeniable. One is that the devil is in the revisions. Another is that electronics and appliance, as well as furniture and furnishings, have suffered as sectors with the sluggish new construction recovery.

We saw Declines in April versus April Only Sales in Four Sectors. The good news, in light of recent stories of declining automobile sales, is that Automobile sales are higher this year than last year. The bad news is that after years of "gasoline savings" we are seeing Gasoline retail sales rise. The four sectors that have lower sales this April than last April were the Electronics and Appliance Sector (again,) the Health and Personal Care Sector, The Sporting Goods and Hobby Sector, and the Miscellaneous Retail Trade Sector.

The Rolling Year Data is Down in Four Sectors as Well. This is different that comparing April Sales, month only. This is the sales volume for the past twelve months. This data reveals slowing in the Electronics and Appliance Sector, The Health and Personal Care Sector, The Sporting Good and Hobby Sector, as well as the Miscellaneous sales sector

Current Year Sales, for the first four months of the year, are up 3.98% compared to Last April.Here the information is a little better. Only three sectors are down from their Current Year totals from last year: Health and Personal Care and Electronics and Appliances, and Sporting Goods/Hobby are all down for the Current Year. The change from the previous lists is that Clothing and Apparel is down for the first four months of the year as compared to last year. Sales were increasing at an annual rate of 3.53% last April.

The Devil is in the Revisions. Finally, the Revisions to February and March Data were Up for some sectors, down for others, and up overall for both months. The data for Electronics and Appliances. Health and Personal Care, Sporting Goods and Hobby, and Miscellaneous Sales were all revised downward. That should come as no surprise.  Building Material and Garden Equipment, as well as Food and Beverage Sales saw reductions in the February and March results. The upward revisions were seen in Motor Vehicle and Parts, Furniture, Gasoline, Clothing, General Merchandise, Non-Store Retail, and Food and Drinking Places. Overall, the retail sales for February were revised upward by 616 million dollars and 1.887 billion dollars, respectively.  Some people were saying that this report was evidence of a retail ice age. What Retail Ice Age?

Retail sales are improving.Only the Electronics and Appliance Sector has not returned to April 2007 levels.  Nine Sectors Saw April Sales Improve, and four sectors have seen April sales drop compared to April 2016 . These same sectors have seen their rolling year sales drop. Three sectors have seen their current year data drop compared to the sales from January through April of 2016. This means ten sectors are starting this year better than last year. Total retail sales are up nearly 4% over last year and better than last year's April Annual Growth of 3.53%.

It's the economy, not the E-Comey-y