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Retail Sales Post Modest Beat Despite Ongoing Plunge In Gasoline Sales

Tyler Durden's picture


In keeping with the now constant trend of baffle with BS, since everyone was expecting a weaker advance retail sales print, just like with the BLS report, it was virtually assured that the data would prove everyone wrong. Sure enough, moments ago the Census department announced that headline retail sales rose by 0.1% in April, from a downward revised -0.5% in March, beating expectations of a second decline in a row of -0.3%. Retail sales ex autos were in line with expectations at -0.1%, on expectations of a -0.2% print, but it was the sales number ex-autos and gas which surprised the most, rising 0.6% on expectations of a +0.3% increase, up from a -0.1% decline. Of note: gasoline stations saw a dramatic 4.7% drop in sales, following a 3.2% drop in March: are all US commuters now using Back to the Future type hoverboards or just driving to work in the Tesla Model S?

A breakdown by retail sales category:

But perhaps most notable is that just like every other data point, the magic was in the seasonal adjustment, because the NSA data declined from $427.8 billion to $416.5 billion. And in an econometric model in which now more and more 'experts' agree there is a big problem with the winter to spring seasonal transition, one wonders just how credible not only the April, but the last several month's adjusted accuracy is if indeed the adjustments are not to be trusted?

The chart below shows the March to April change for the past decade on an Adjusted and Non-Adjusted basis. Perhaps there is something to the whole "seasonally adjusting" our way out of trouble in the third worst such monthly transition in the past decade.


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Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:47 | 3555716 Lost Wages
Lost Wages's picture

Dow 160,000 (not a typo)

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:53 | 3555739 espirit
espirit's picture

Meh, Matrix Metrics.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:55 | 3555746 kliguy38
kliguy38's picture

Baffle with bullshit??? Of course .....we have nothing left to throw at the CONfidence as it ebbs ever rapidly into the sewer of history. The analogy of Chevy Chase putting his chewing gum in the dam as another leaks pops out just as he turns to walk away becomes every more prescient. Most of us will never even get a warning when the dam breaks. We'll just wake up one Monday morning and the Breaking News will be its all closed down

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:00 | 3555760 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

to funny watching the shitbags on cnbs ...making fun of bloomberg....cramer taking a bow for this incredible, awesome, amazing, life changing retail sales do you live without charactor or principles.....or do these asshats consider themselves actors who are just reading scripts?


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:07 | 3555773 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

I am thinking that all government agencies have been told to make "stylistic" changes to all public communiques.

Welcome to the greatest bannana republic in the world.

Welcome to the bastion of freedom and transparency.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:16 | 3555807 new game
new game's picture

long visa mastercard & amex

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:32 | 3555847 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Reading the script, acting, with a gun to their temple.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:27 | 3555979 LooseLee
LooseLee's picture

Actually they are criminals with bulleseyes on their backs...

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:48 | 3555719 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

What's a commuter?

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:48 | 3555720 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

What do world gasoline sales look like?  Just because Americans won't work, doesn't mean the rest of the world isn't still going to get shit done.  In order to ghet anything done, you need energy, period.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:52 | 3555731 Cdad
Cdad's picture

The collapsing demand for gasoline continues to be a huge tell about the underlying ill health of the US economy.  This has been going on for years now, and the story gets almost no play anywhere.  

It really is too bad that the Ceridian Pulse of Commerce Index is no longer reporting...for if it was, it would be tracking disastrous diesel sales...and momo monkeys would not be chasing the shares of retail company's right here.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:02 | 3555770 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

No, no you've got it all wrong. Bloomberg says that gasoline sales are down only because the price of gasoline has dropped. I'm not sure where that has happened but apparently somewhere in "Statisticsville" USA, the price of gas has dropped.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:13 | 3555793 Cdad
Cdad's picture

You and I know better than this.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:06 | 3556172 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

Yes we certainly do.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:13 | 3555795 BeepBeepImAJeep
BeepBeepImAJeep's picture

Hey, my dad went to college in Statisticsville! Go Fighting Standard Deviations!

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:33 | 3555853 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Whole country stayin at home watchin Oprah waitin for the gubmint check to come in!

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:51 | 3555899 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Google search of ZH images on the subject here:

For those that didn't know, if you include "" in your search phrase, only will be searched.

Couldn't find much of anything on global gasoline sales/production/etc.



Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:52 | 3555733 Lost Wages
Lost Wages's picture

Didn't you know that all the work Americans do is "intagible"? That is why they are going to change how they measure the GDP. Those newly crafted intagibles numbers should be mad bullish for the momo traders.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:54 | 3555743 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

ah yes, more financial "products" of mass destruction, lovely.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:36 | 3556030 Randall Cabot
Randall Cabot's picture

"intangible" too.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:54 | 3555742 HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

You need to take into account the thousands of Chevy Volts driving around.  Hell, the parking lot of my office complex is full of them!

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:55 | 3555748 Lost Wages
Lost Wages's picture

Is your office complex in the middle of a Chevy dealership by chance?

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:34 | 3555855 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

lolwut? Certainly the <sarc> button must have malfunctioned....I haven't seen a Chevy Volt around here in months.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:49 | 3555724 digitlman
digitlman's picture

Good for another 200 pts on the DOW!








Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:49 | 3555725 W T F II
W T F II's picture

Sell more naked puts...

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:50 | 3555727 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

Are all US commuters now using Back to the Future type hoverboards or just driving to work in the Tesla Model S?

That's right... you commute to WORK. There's no fucking WORK.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:51 | 3555728 spastic_colon
spastic_colon's picture

non pomo day needs some juice

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:53 | 3555737 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Bingo, yet look, treasuries getting sold, yields climbing, gonna get even more expensive for CONgress/taxpayer.  Stupid fucks/puppets.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:53 | 3555734 22winmag
22winmag's picture

I wonder where retail would be if it weren't for ammunition and gun sales.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:53 | 3555738 WhiteNight123129
WhiteNight123129's picture


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:59 | 3555758 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I wonder when Tyler is going to explain that this move in treasuries is completely about the move in the Yen forcing banks to unwind hedges....

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:01 | 3555765 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yields on the ten-year above 1.9% and climbing.  Short them until the government needs to fund it's budget at least.  When's the next debt ceiling going to be breached? LMFAO!

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:04 | 3555774 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I hear you Laws. I find it odd disagreeing with you because you are spot on. I am looking at this through the Yen. If it stabilizes I think you see the 10yr head back down. If it keeps selling off or gets disorderly things get very interesting.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:09 | 3555784 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Indeed, the unfunded liabilities are still there, making it more expensive to fund these liabilities (rising rates) sure as hell isn't going to help.  You re-structure the debt or you remove (kill?) the liabilities, period.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:14 | 3555800 Fiat Burner
Fiat Burner's picture

Fonz, can you explain to me your theory on the link between UST yields and the Yen? Is it simply that the Japanese government has less purchasing power to buy UST since the Yen is weakening against the USD?

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:22 | 3555819 new game
new game's picture

how can the markets price risk when ben comes in with a bid via pomo?

all fucking bullshit, nothing else. yen is crap buying crap...

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:22 | 3555820 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Shit, governments (puppets/strongarms of fascists/coroporatists) do not care about purchasing power.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:30 | 3555841 new game
new game's picture

they skim pure profit and bank billions - yA right 365 days of trading desk up days/year.  i could do that in a rigged market.

you could too. just need a federal reserve to back you up in rigged markets. simple easy and wonderfull for the rich mutha fuks gaming the system and fuking the 99.99 percent stuck in this gamed system.  welcome home mates- here is your shit sandwich - EAT UP!

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:38 | 3555865 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

indeed, when the shit sandwiches are no longer avialable (SNAP), then and only then do the guillotines roll, maybe.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:31 | 3555842 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

It's all about these bullshit financial products created. Google Power Reverse dual currency note.

Once these products start to go haywire it requires hedging adjustments. In this case, sales of treasuries. How serious it is, and how long it lasts, I wish someone else would takea stab at.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:34 | 3555854 new game
new game's picture

time to take a stab at the heart-the fed reserve...

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:25 | 3555971 Fiat Burner
Fiat Burner's picture

Interesting. Thanks.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:54 | 3555740 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

CME Gasoline looks like it is headed for a long term decline.


Gaming the numbers has been with us for a few years - last gasp.


Let's see how that FOMC "QE wind-down" announcement pans out this week.  US Indexes are down a few poops, so it looks like QE shutdown is bullish.  LMAO.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:59 | 3555741 Mercury
Mercury's picture

And in an econometric model in which now more and more 'experts' agree there is a big problem with the winter to spring seasonal transition, one wonders just how credible not only the April, but the last several month's adjusted accuracy is if indeed the adjustments are not to be trusted?


If a given month gets a positive boost from a seasonal adjustment doesn’t some other time period have to take the hit? A particular full fiscal year containing seasonally-adjusted months must equal the same full fiscal year without seasonally-adjusted periods – no?

At some point there is going to be a spike in retail online sales as people stock up ahead of the (likely) tax.


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:55 | 3555745 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

David Kostin (GS Equity Strategist) just called the top by saying we are going much higher on the weekend.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:55 | 3555747 10PastMidnight
10PastMidnight's picture

probably just the orders for ammo bringing it up, you know with how pleased and trusting of the FED, everyone has become. one number they dont have to twist.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:56 | 3555749 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

Now I know why gas prices are up 40 cents a gallon in the last six weeks. With drops of 3.2% and 4.7% the oil companies must be hurting and could miss their quarterly earnings. So if Americans won't buy enough gas - jack up the price so that the ones who have to buy gas will make up for those missing earnings.

Oil companies and speculators just do not understand basic economics - gas at $3.80 will see even less demand. The same speculators dropped gold $200 and thought there would be less demand. Sure... Only algos with momentum trading built in think this way...

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:58 | 3555755 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

7+ billion people all competing for a better quality of life the "opportunity" to communte to a job.  plenty of of fucking demand outside the U.S.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:10 | 3556187 walküre
walküre's picture

Where? Do you know what the cost of a gallon is "outside" the US? Forget Europe. There's no demand there either. The places you speak of have gas prices you can only dream of. Or do you seriously think the Indian and Chinese go cart drivers can afford the equivalent of 4 bucks per gallon?


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:52 | 3556356 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

The human population is very much still growing.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 14:41 | 3557209 What you talkin...
What you talkin about Willis's picture

"Or do you seriously think the Indian and Chinese go cart drivers can afford the equivalent of 4 bucks per gallon?"

They don't require a personal armed vehicle to get there fat fucking self's to the local walmart so that they can fill up the car with sugary water, to insure future diabetes which will drain them all of there excess cash to the medical industrial complex, which could have been used to afford and compete on the global market for increasingly expensive energy.  

Seriously man, you ever seen them fuckers, the talent that they have to load up a motor bike full of shit.  When peak oil really starts to hit, all of Asia will look like cirque de solea with insane amounts of shit being moved with every burnt hydrocarbon.   


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:58 | 3555754 gatorengineer
gatorengineer's picture

sporting goods sales booming = guns and ammo.....


Time to go long canned food and shot gun shells.......


Gremlins rocked......

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:59 | 3555759 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Now everybody can forget about QE taper and get drunk in the equity bacchanalia....   NOT.

No POMO today, Kev' Henry will just have to read Penthouse Swimsuit and eat Snickers bars all day.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:40 | 3555871 MythicalFish
MythicalFish's picture

Surely somebody got 1.5bln to inject until double-qty-POMO tomorrow?


The question is good news + taper talk = oops ?

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:00 | 3555761 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

TBT or not TBT--that is the question.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:06 | 3555777 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

You missed the boat. Maybe there is a little meat on the bone, but once Abe comes out and makes some stupid ass statement to halt the Yen's demise temporarily you will see reality snap back.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:18 | 3555812 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

How about run, don't walk, as far from these manipulated markets as you can get. Then buy gold, and wait for the crash. Once the dust has settled, help rebuild America by selling your gold holdings and making sound investments in real companies that will help make a great nation again. Just a thought.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:01 | 3555767 monopoly
monopoly's picture

It is all so absurd, why do we even bother anymore. And Nevada back to number one in unemployment. Shadow Stats estimate real unemployment + discouraged workers + part time workers exceeds 30%. Great recovery. And our casinos continue to circle the drain. And Detroit, even worse than the worst prognosis. 

Yup. America growing. Beyond words. Thank goodness for Tesla. We all need to drive $80,000 dollar cars to save gas. 

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:20 | 3555780 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Less people going to work for sure.


But also there is a lot of low hanging fruit in the US of A.


Dallas area rapid transit has seen a 20.75 % increase in light rail passengers during 2012 as it continues to extend its lines.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:32 | 3555846 dolph9
dolph9's picture

As someone who grew up around the big D let me tell you, DART is just a way to shuffle the "consumers" around so they can eat and shop.

It's not a meaningful way to get to work and back, the area is paved over with highways like every other city in America.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:45 | 3555885 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

So long as our produce keeps moving (If it makes you feel better, go ahead and curse me every time you see a "Fleming Foods" truck). ;-)

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:08 | 3555914 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Sure..............all people in cities are net consumers............all.

The Dallas DART has less passenger numbers then the Dublin DART despite the depression over here,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but numbers are growing.


But if people are to live in cities they must give up the car...............there is no need for it anyway.


"Like most interurban railroads of the early 20th century, the Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad was designed to string together farm communities with nearby cities. Most of these interurban railroads have ended this type of service, and the Hudson Lake station is one of the few such stations that remain"

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:17 | 3555786 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 Correct me if I am wrong,

but the report has no adjustment for inflation,

including the "seasonal adjustment" which does not adjust for inflation.

So long as prices go up fast enough, total dollar sales likely will also.

And so long as the population keeps increasing, total sales can go up,

even if not necessarily on a per capita basis.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:26 | 3555832 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

You are mostly correct except that in a normal world as prices rise due to inflation sales volumes should fall, keeping total sales relatively flat. But when your government has decided that the future generations of this country can't vote therefore don't matter and decide to create trillions in excess debt each year, well the rules change a little then.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:24 | 3555963 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 My comment was meant to apply to the current situation,

not hypothetical cases such as one where the supply of dollars and credit would be constrained.

As for our government having concern for any generation, present or future, I believe you are mistaken. The programs of warfare and financial plunder do not benefit "voters", and are not intended to.

The "excess" is not in SocSec and actual medical care provided by government for the elderly. The excess is in war and financial plunder carried out through government. The excess is in the participation of youth in the military and police which enforces the subjugation of us all. Of course, that youth participation is lured by jobs, glory, and arguably "excessive" benefits.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:04 | 3556163 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

I guess that I have believed we live in a democracy for so long that it's hard to shake that mindset. You're right though voters don't mean anything. TBTB have rigged it all to benefit themselves no matter what the voters decide. There is no difference between Democrat and Republican, they both are just puppet governments. Thanks for the reality check so early in the week.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:14 | 3555799 highwaytoserfdom
highwaytoserfdom's picture

Dissability more than employment.. Says it all the secure FICO yes men that shuffled overseas labor enslavment and decide to shuffel paper (70% of US university grads)..  instead of invent create farm manufacture.    Hey Paulson warned about Marshal Law  I guess Boston shows his wish came true. This is a tremendious miss use of the first admendment...    Mike Rogers and the IRS?  WTF this clown (wife/corporate/LLC whatever) received a 10b Blackwater type security contract.


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:54 | 3555911 yogibear
yogibear's picture

The campaign to live off the gpvernment is working.

Even illegals are encouraged to participate at the government feeding trough.

If you don't live off the government then you work for it.

The government even rejected saving money by canceling Saturday mail delivery. This was one of the easiest cuts to do.

Both senators and congressmen look to get the easiest way to get votes, pay for them with tax dollars.


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:18 | 3555809 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

Hard not to buy my 89th sweater when they are reduced 90%......

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:30 | 3555840 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

You are so right there. There's a lot of that psychology going on out there. Fall prey to it myself from time to time. But soon big discounts just aren't that titillating anymore. 

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:11 | 3555931 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

True. I have enuff underwear, socks, PJs and on and on to last three lifetimes....If this is any indication of what's ahead, retail is going to keep getting crushed --  there is no hope for JCP imo. I saw the CEO of Ralph Lauren on TV other night saying retail will not recover in his lifetime...the maket's flooded with stuff now.....RL is moving 40% of its plants out of China to cheaper places like Bangladesh he said....he added people don't want to pay full price anymore for anything.


I see more empty store fronts every day--- both in strip malls and enclosed malls. I have no idea who loans money to these places to open in the first place but they must be taking some big losses on their commercial loans



Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:24 | 3555827 tedstr
tedstr's picture

One of our two gas stations in my town just closed.  They are turning the space into a bank, but we already have five banks.  What does that say.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:40 | 3556311 Alex Kintner
Alex Kintner's picture

Bullish ... for bank robbers. As long as they gas up the getaway car before the heist.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:28 | 3555836 dolph9
dolph9's picture

If for one person driving to work there are 3 sitting at home surviving on ebt and disability, eating cheetos watching 500 channels, that's alot less people driving to work.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:28 | 3555837 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Denton County DMUs has seen a 97 % rise of passenger services in 2012 and a 40% rise in the last quarter.


They now seem to be using both the old and new rail cars to cater for the increased number of  passengers.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:45 | 3555882 Mister Ponzi
Mister Ponzi's picture

Again: As US retail sales are reported in nominal terms, any decrease in gasoline sales can be the effect of lower volumes sold or lower prices. As gasoline futures declined by 10% in April, this is most likely a price effect. Don't get fooled: these numbers are only nominal.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:12 | 3556198 MFLTucson
MFLTucson's picture


Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:43 | 3556326 Alex Kintner
Alex Kintner's picture

Dramatic effect of hybrid cars -- it's obvious. But I'm waiting for the 2nd generation of green cars -- powered by wind power.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 13:42 | 3556838 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

Lower gasoline sales mean only ONE thing, Zero growth no matter what "They" say. $3.50 a gallon with zero growth. There will Never be any more growth unless you want to pay $5. a gal. for gas and part time workers can not afford that. It's over, it's been over.

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