There was supposed to be some good news in the February Retail Sales (MARTS) report. The writers  live in the seasonally adjusted world. Reality was that retail sales dropped in six sectors and that two sectors have not returned to February 2007 levels.


The February Advance MARTS report indicated that we saw great advances in non-store retail sales and at gasoline stations.The problem is that they did not address the downward revisions to the December data, they did not reference the drop in February sales in six sectors as compared to February 2016, Five sectors are off to a slower start after two months than during 2016, and three sectors are trending lower over the past twelve months with regard to rolling year data, and two sectors have not returned to February 2007 Levels  Combine all these into one column and this should have been big news yesterday.

The December Data was revised down by half a billion dollars. The January data was revised upward by 2 billion dollars. The data in the revision table are in millions of dollars. The largest revisions to the December data happened in the Health and Personal Care sector and the non-store retail sector. This is huge. The non-store retail sector has been a driver of the economy, as well as the automobile sector. The December Motor Vehicle and Parts sales number was revised down by 103 million.


They did not reference the drop in February sales in six sectors as compared to February 2016. The time series graph and the thirteen month table reveal that we had six sectors with lower sales than during February of 2016: Electronics and Appliance (EAS,) (Food and Beverage Stores (FBS,) Clothing (CCAS,) Sporting Good and Hobby (SHM,) General Merchandise (GM,) and Miscellaneous StoreSales  (Misc.) We saw eight sectors with lower sales compared to January.


Five sectors are off to a slower start after two months than during 2016. The electronics and Aplliance Sector, the Food and Beverage Store, Clothing, Hobby, and General Merchadise sectors are starting off worse than they did during 2016.Two months is not a trend. We will have to keep an eye on these sectors next month.


Three Sectors have lower rolling year data. Electronics and Appliances, Gasoline, and General Merchandise sales are lower overth last twelve months than where we were last February. This means thatthe combined annual growth rate, the first two months of the year, is a paltry 3.73%, down from last February's 3.86%


Two sectors have not returned to February 2007 Levels. Electronic and appliance, as well as the Furniture Sector have not returned to February 2007 levels. This is an incomplete recovery.


This is not an entirely dismal report. The retail sales annual growth rate is better than it was March through November of last year. People may be spending more money, or at least feeling better , than they were last year. The Furniture Sector and the Electronics sector will pick up as the housing market picks up. All sectors should improve if we receive more jobs reports similar to the February Jobs report.


It's the economy.

Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense