Total Retail Sales were Up by over 3% from last year. The December monthly total sales was up by 4.42% December 2015. This is good news. The December over December growth was most prevalent in the Motor Vehicle and Gasoline station sales. We also saw a nice bump in the furniture sales sector. Non-store Retail sales were where the biggest gains  year over year were seen - exceeding 10%. The month to month sales spiked, as it does normally during December,  due to the annual Christmas Sales Surge. The 13-month table details the changes in the Electronics and Appliance sector, The Hobby Sector, and the General Merchandise Sector.

An Incomplete Recovery.  Even with all this good news there are three sectors that recorded lower sales than December 2007. We are still "saving money at the pump." We are also "saving money" on Home Furnishing and on Electronics and Appliances. We have seen a huge surge in spending at Food and Drinking Establishments, as well as Food and Beverage Stores. We have also seen a robust recovery and expansion in the Motor Vehicle Sector. What is important to note is that the Electronics and Appliance sales for the Month of December peaked during 2014 and has dropped each of the past two years.

This was a generally solid MARTS report. Annual total sales growth was the best that we have seen since April of this past year. Some sectors could see improvement. When we see a full recovery in existing home sales and new home sales we will see a full recovery in the Electronics and Appliances sector and the Home furnishings sector. we should be celebrating this report.

It's the economy.

Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

Strong December Retail Report

This week we saw the release of the Advance Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) data for December 2016. There were enough revisions to the data from October and November to fill an entire column. We had a stronger December than was reported elsewhere. We had a strong 2016. The problem is that there are pockets of weakness and pockets of the economy that still have not returned to December 2007 levels.

Electronics and Appliance Sales Continue their slide - Gasoline ticks up. We have seen a steady decline of sales at Electronics and Appliance Stores during the past year. Year over year declines, same month sales, have become commonplace. We know that non-store retail sales have been surging for many years. Do you need to go to a store to buy televisions, media players, or other electronics? The meme for the past year or more has been that we are saving money at the gasoline pumps and that this should be acting as a stimulus to the economy - other sectors of the economy. The problem, as has been detailed a few times in articles from this column, the gasoline stimulus has been offset by higher personal taxes.