Reclaiming Common Sense

Last Year we had our First $6 Trillion MARTS Sales Year

Last Year We had our First Non-December $500 Billion Months, Plural

The monthly retail sales report (MARTS) can be a market mover. This report, as with most government reports, has a non-seasonally adjusted component and a seasonally adjusted component. It is proposed widely in the media that 70% of our Gross Domestic Product comes from retail sales. Peak sales during the first half of the year takes place during May. Peak sales during the second half of the year happen during December.  Even though this is an "off-peak" month we can expect to see a large spike in June to June sales this Month. The report was pretty well received. The data, as usual, was virtually ignored.

There were revisions to both the seasonally adjusted MARTS retail data and the non-seasonally adjusted data. These revisions were referenced in a second document. What you need to know is that the seasonally adjusted data (SA) was revised back through 2013 while the NSA data was only revised back through 2016. It is interesting that the Electronics and Appliances (EAS) and Sporting Goods, Hobbies, Books and Music (SGHBM) data were both revised higher this year. That was not the case last year. We also saw upward revisions to the Non-Store Retail (NSR) data and the Food and Drinking Places (FDP) data. The other sectors saw revisions to the downside.  We still maintained our first $6T retail sales year last year.

We have sold more each month, the past six months, than we sold during the same months last year. This was our fourth consecutive month with over $500 billion in retail sales. Last year we had eight months over $500B, including October, November, and December.  We could finish this year with ten months of monthly sales over $500 billion and possibly our first $600 billion dollar month during December.

The rolling year growth data is dropping while the current year growth rate is bouncing. The Rolling Year growth, the 12 month rear view look, is growing at 3.65%. The current year growth is slower,at 2.87%. We are still growing. 

June to June retail sales were expected to grow 4% to 8%, non-seasonally adjusted. There was miss here with only 1.84% June to June Growth. June only sales were down for Furniture and Home Furnishings (FHF,) EAS, Building Material and Garden Equipment (BMGE,) and Clothing and Clothing Accessories (CAC.) We are still growing.

May to June Sales was expected to drop non-seasonally adjusted in all but one sector, SGHBM, as is normal for June.  This is exactly what happened. Even gasoline sales fell.

It was anticipated that we would report seasonally adjusted month to month growth in all sectors except Miscellaneous (MISC) sales. We saw declines in housing related sectors FHF, EAS, and BMGE as well as Clothing.

We should have seen  3% to 8% seasonally adjusted June to June Growth.  We saw 3.08% current year growth, 3.42% same month growth, and 3.77% rolling year growth. Rolling year growth is higher than current year growth so we are growing and slowing.

We had one of our best Quarter to Quarter Growth rates seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted quarter to quarter (Q2Q) growth is important for the Gross Domestic Product's headline annualized growth rate. We grew at 1.83 during 2019Q2, up from 1.25% 2018Q2, up from 0.28% during 2017Q2, and better than 2016Q2 when we were at 1.10% and 2015Q2 when we were at 1.69%. This should boost the quarter GDP to the 4.2% to 5.2% range.


The data was revised. The data was about as expected. Negative Nancys and Nates in the Media may be dragging down the sales.

It's the Economy.