Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

The Monthly And Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) report gives us an idea where people are spending their money. The media likes to think of this a a retail Ice Age as brick and mortar stores close. The reality is that we were on track for our best retail sales yearlast month. Non-store retail is surging. This has been dubbed the "Amazon Effect." When other vendors shift to smaller stores and more direct sales to customers the "Amazon Effect" may fade as "everyone" moves to non-store sales.

There are many ways to examine the data. We can look at same month sales over time. We can look at the current year data. We can also examine the rolling year data.

Motor Vehicle and Auto Parts Continue to Lead the Market. How can this be while we are hearing lackluster, off the peak, automobile sales numbers. First, the data that is reported is the seasonally adjusted data and this data is the non-seasonally adjusted data. We have seen continued improvement in this sector from a rolling year perspective, since the depth of the recession. Everything is pointing to a record year, according to the non-seasonally adjusted data. It is also important to notice that Food and Beverage Stores are the second largest drive of the economy, followed by Food and Drinking Places and General Merchandise. The Non-store sales data is soaring and may soon overtake General Merchandise as the "catch-all" category.

We continue to see weakness in the Electronics and Appliance Sector. Whether you look at the data from a rolling year perspective or a current year perspective this sector is in a slide. This sector has lower sales than July 2006 through July 2009 and July 2015 to date. It continues to slide lower this month. The Current year data is lower now than either 2015 or 2016 after the July data was posted.

We saw month to month declines in eight sectors and overall. You are hearing that the seasonal data showed strength. These charts and tables are based on non-seasonally adjusted data. The current growth rate is 4.18% over last year. There isn't a "gasoline stimulus" this year. Gasoline sales were up 0.10% month to month, 1.36% June 2017 versus June 2016, and up 11.64% year to date, January through July. We also saw revisions to the past two moths of data. The net was an upward revisions.

Retail sales are still on track for a record year. Some sectors still have not recovered to pre-recession levels. The news is good for most sectors. How much of the change is inflation? We will find out more when the CPI data is released.

It's the economy.