December Retail Sales Beat Due To November Revision Lower, Electronics Sales Tumble

Tyler Durden's picture

Following ongoing promises from the Fed that the Taper will continue at a pace of $10 billion per month come rain or shine, suddenly good news are critical for stocks, as the stock market is desperate for a strong economy to which Yellen can pass the baton. It did not get that with Friday's payrolls number so it was hoping for some good news in today's retail sales. And judging by the market response to the just released December retail sales, it got it, if only for now: headline December retail sales rose 0.2%, on expectation on a 0.1% increase even as auto sales tumbled -1.8%. Retail Sales ex autos rose 0.7% higher than the 0.4% expected, while ex autos and gas was up a more modest 0.6%, also better than the 0.3% expected.

How is it possible that December retail sales according to the US government were better than expected, when every retailer has posted abysmal results? Well it seems the Census Bureau merely engaged in some recalendarization, with November numbers all revised substantially lower: headline down from 0.7% to 0.4%, ex autos 0.4% to 0.1%, and ex autos and gas from 0.6% to 0.3%. In other words, a complete wash with today's "beat."

So when netting away the calendar effect of an early start to the holiday season, perhaps the only value added data in the retail sales report was the data involving Electronics and Appliance Stores.They posted the biggest 2 month drop in 2 years!

And visually:

Was that it for gadget/gizmo recovery, and if so, what does that mean for Apple and other stalwarts of the New Normal?

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Dr. Engali's picture

Apple? Are they still making stuff, or just repackaging the same old tired product with a different name?

jbvtme's picture

where is the line item for "dogs and ponies"?

Deo vindice's picture

I think that's what JPM (now) calls FVA.

midtowng's picture

The government has figured out that the computers running the market will jump at every phony data release. the computers don't know any different, so we are going to see phony numbers coming out again and again until the computers break.

RSloane's picture

Morning Doc! I would argue that the general perception is Apple is on the cutting edge of technology that makes their products, for some people, virtually impossible to live without even if the new product is the same as the old product with a few more buttons added. People forget about the sweat shops, the subjecting of their employees to Dickension work and living conditions, and their long-standing and chronic shifting jobs overseas. They just like that shiny logo on their electronic devises.

Dr. Engali's picture

Good morning Sloane. It is amazing to see how electronics have zombified a whole generation. On one hand they end users will condemn corporations and their practices with righteous indignation, and on the other they will worship the products that they make. For some reason they can't seem to put two and two together.

RSloane's picture

I agree, Doc. 'Morality' always seems to be for someone else. I can't think of any major brands that people clamor to buy that aren't at least partially made in a foreign sweatshop. We've seen vids of people physically fighting over Reebox shoes on ZH, of course not appreciating the fact that they are fighting over an item whose production overseas is just another assault on the middle class in the US.

Putting two and two together seems to be a lost art form.

Headbanger's picture

Fuck Apple!  There was a guy at the bar during lunch yesterday who almost smashed his new iPhone 5 cause he couldn't get it to ring instead of vibrate or vice versus. The bar maid was very nice and tried to help as she has an iPhone 4 but couldn't get it to work. Then a waitress tried cause she too has an iPhone 4 but no success either.  The poor guy left saying he was heading for the Verizon store across the parking lot to return it for an Android!


papaswamp's picture

Totally new... Didn't you notice all the pretty colors? Coat of paint makes everything new!

krispkritter's picture

Rotten to the core.  They should replace the logo with the face of a kid working for peanuts to build their crap.

Sudden Debt's picture


iPads are build by tinny little childrens hands because grownups can't screw in those little screws.




newprepper's picture

Made by children for children. Ahh China.

ejmoosa's picture

Apple has posted four consecutive quarters of lower earnings YOY....

Frankly, who needs any more stuff than they already have>


stocktivity's picture

It's all Bullshit!!!  Rally on

Rising Sun's picture

buy with MOAR debt - that fixes everything

101 years and counting's picture

electronics' prices are crumbling.  dudley can now eat 1 mini iPad and a regular iPad for dinner.

yogibear's picture

Dudley is a Goldman Boy. He's  part of the problem.

Bosch's picture

Clearly what we need here is a few more iPad sizes to prop up the electronic sales.  

iPad Huge 

iPad Bigger 

iPad Minuscule 

iPad Size Don't Matter

dobermangang's picture

They need to make an iPhone or iPad out of gold that shoots lead.   It would be a huge seller.

Sudden Debt's picture

and a 500ml flask on the back for booze!



Gazooks's picture

I'd rather a lead pad shooting gold

Sudden Debt's picture

And a iBugoutPad! (4 day batterypack)


LawsofPhysics's picture

So we had some sales, great.  Did any of these companies actually make a profit or were they selling crap at a loss?

I know, it probably doesn't matter with "mark to fantasy" accounting still in play.

Handful of Dust's picture

we only bought stuff 90% off ....


dobermangang's picture

You can find good, useful free stuff on craigslist too.  You just have to constantly check and be fast to respond.

wisehiney's picture

October revised lower too. Just like December will be.

dobermangang's picture

It seems to me lots of retailers that have reported are missing their numbers and are warning going forward.  Of course, they'll just blame the weather.

papaswamp's picture

Food, drink and clothing the big winners. So the consumer is reduced to the basic necessities. Additionally, the Y/Y trend is heading the wrong direction.
2011 7.5%
2012 5.4%
2013 4.2%

firstdivision's picture

Nevermind the reality is that these % are based on Lollars and not volume. Paying more for less seems to escape those htat push stawks, and those that buy stawks

gendumonde's picture

Where are all the iPad sales? Online? Is Walmart an "electronics store?" 

Darksky's picture

Went to Best Buy to get a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 for the wife to use. We had to go in 5 times before they had one in stock. During checkout mentioned to clerk how hard it was to get a Surface and asked her if the newfangled iPad was selling this well. She said no and pointed to this metal cage thing next to the Geek Squad desk. Walked over to the cage and the shelves inside were stacked high with iPads. Must have been over 100 iPads of various model and storage amounts. I started laughing and walked back to the checkout area with a shit eating grin on my face. The checkout girl smiled and said thank you for brightening up my day, the look on your face was priceless.

eclectic syncretist's picture

The technological revolution that has driven markets over the past couple  of decades is winding down, and getting very long in the tooth.  How many people are going to throw away their 60" TV's just to buy a 70-80" TV, when they can't even afford a wall big enough to hang it on?  Cell phones are becoming passe already, and the technology already exists to make calls for next to nothing.  The carriers are hanging on by the skin of their teeth to keep it from happening, but they are uber-vulnerable nevertheless. 

LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, add to that decreasing wages, decreasing purchasing power, and the increased cost to travel or ship things around the globe and things will be getting considerably more local, in a hurry.  With the exception being that I can communicate with my relatives in New Zealand for free whenever I want.  If I want to visit however, I'll have to sail there myself.

Handful of Dust's picture

add to that the 5-6% postal rate increase [the second in almost 12 months] ..should really be a boost to the economy.

freedogger's picture

My only upgrade left is to trade from 1080i to the newer 4x hd or whatever the fuck its called. What's the point? Even when everything is filmed in that format the cable and sattelite will compress the crap out of it. If netflix upgrades to that level, my ISP will cap the hell out of the bandwidth. My fricken eyesight isin't even good enough to see 4k. 4k porn, no thanks, they will all look fugly. Over the air will take decades to upgrade to 4k. Oh what, I'm going to go back to the 90's and start buying discs at walmart? Good luck getting to sleep after watching something that big at that resolution.

Whoa Dammit's picture

Soon the Census Bureau's recalendarization will make it Christmas all year! Shop slaves, shop!

Rainman's picture

Recalendarization bitchez ! ..... an old new con the algos can't cypher !

Deo vindice's picture


You can always tell when there's something someone wants to hide.

They invent new words (the more syllables the better) that are meaningless.

Rainman's picture

agree...The Volcker Rule contains twice as many words as the New Testament ( 297,000 )

Deo vindice's picture

Interesting comparison. I didn't know that.

P.S. I'll take the New Testament for content AND brevity.

Sudden Debt's picture

Everybody was hoarding food for the vortex!

ifishivote's picture

Just look at the chart. The 2 biggest increases came from food and gasoline. Thank God there is no inflation. I paid $.89 for a fucking lemon the other day.

dobermangang's picture

Gamestop(GME) is plunging this morning.  They lowered their already soft earning's estimate.

TGT has already warned.  LULU and SODA plunged yesterday on misses.  So who's making money besides the gun makers?

yogibear's picture

Go long guns, ammo and boiled rope.

The_Ungrateful_Yid's picture

And go long on pussy, helps keep morale strong during the shitstorm.

Racer's picture

Yet another case of comparing apples to golfballs to pretend things are improving

NoWayJose's picture

Bad weather kept people from looking for jobs, but NOT from buying stuff?

yogibear's picture

Was at an electronics big-box store a couple of days  before  Christmas and it was a ghost town. There were more sales people than customers.

The Wall Street banksters and DC are impoverishing main street.

One good thing is generation debt loaded with thousands of dollars of school loans is dumping cable tv in a hurry. Another unneeded expense. Besides cable TV is so 80's. 

Once the young people get used to doing without it will stay with them the rest of their lives. 

aVileRat's picture

I am stealing that phrase 'generation Debt'. Brilliant and damning given the current state of millennial job prospects & ROA outlook.