Reclaiming Common Sense

The monthly and annual retail trade survey (MARTS) data has been largely ignored this year. The MARTS Report has a headline seasonally adjusted total retail sales number that receives considerable attention when it is released. This year has been very strong for retail sales.

  • January was the best January on record
  • February was the best February on record
  • March was the best March on record
  • April was the best April on record

The problem is that, as was detailed in "Is Retail Growth Undervalued in Recent GDP report" that according to the authors of the GDP report seasonally adjusted personal consumption expenditures are slowing in growth, while according to the non-seasonally adjusted CPI data and the non-seasonally adjusted MARTS data, we are spending more money, and retail sales are improving. The article "May Retail Can Jump 5% from Last May" projected month to month retail sales growth, non-seasonally adjusted, in all retail sectors, even though there could be declines May 2018 versus May 2017 for the Electronics and Appliances (EA) Sector and for the Sporting Goods, Hobby, Books and Music (SGHBM) Sector. What did the Advance Retail Report for May record, non-seasonally adjusted, and what did it report, seasonally adjusted?

All Sectors Grew April to May This Year. The largest month to month gains were Miscellaneous Store (20.91%,) Building Materials(BMGE) (18.21%.) and Clothing (12.77%.)

All Sectors except the Sporting Good Sector Grew May To May. Yes, gain in gasoline sales were huge, up 17.92%. Guess what? Non-Store Retail Spiked 9.11%, BMGE improved by 5.28%, Furniture jumped 4.16% ,  and even electronics and appliance were up 2.75%.

Rolling Year Sales were up 4.66%. If you took all the sales across all the categories and added up the sales for the past twelve months the retail economy has grown by 4.63%This is up from the May 2017 growth rate, the May 2016 growth rate, and the may 2015 growth rate.

Current Year sales are up 4.98%. January through May, this is the best total sales, year to date, ever. This is better than January through May 2017, which was the best year ever. This is up from January through May 2016, then the best year ever. This is also up from January through May 2015, then the best year ever. The Retail Renaissance is real. There is no retail Ice Age.

Retail sales are up more than inflation. Remember that we are still having commodity deflation and service inflation. This is real growth. Wages are up more than inflation.

The current year growth rate is higher than the rolling year growth rate. This means that retail sales are expanding. We are selling more than last year. We are still on track for a $6 trillion retail market this year (6.041 trillion dollars at 4.98%) Food and Beverage Stores and Eating and Drinking Places continue to march higher. Clothing is surging. Non-store retail continues to soar higher and higher. This bides well for second quarter GDP - if they revise their data to reflect reality.

It's the economy.