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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Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:53 | 4330315 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:58 | 4330343 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:16 | 4330379 Deo vindice
Deo vindice's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 13:14 | 4330926 midtowng
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:01 | 4330351 RSloane
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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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:12 | 4330368 Dr. Engali
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:25 | 4330399 RSloane
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:15 | 4330380 Headbanger
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!


Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:04 | 4330356 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:10 | 4330365 krispkritter
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:19 | 4330386 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


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




Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:50 | 4330618 newprepper
newprepper's picture

Made by children for children. Ahh China.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:23 | 4330394 ejmoosa
ejmoosa's picture

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

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


Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:51 | 4330319 stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

It's all Bullshit!!!  Rally on

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:51 | 4330320 Rising Sun
Rising Sun's picture

buy with MOAR debt - that fixes everything

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:52 | 4330325 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:50 | 4330462 yogibear
yogibear's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:54 | 4330329 monopoly
monopoly's picture

Oh oh!

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:55 | 4330333 Bosch
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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:58 | 4330344 dobermangang
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They need to make an iPhone or iPad out of gold that shoots lead.   It would be a huge seller.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:12 | 4330369 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

and a 500ml flask on the back for booze!



Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:12 | 4330371 Gazooks
Gazooks's picture

I'd rather a lead pad shooting gold

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:14 | 4330375 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And a iBugoutPad! (4 day batterypack)


Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:55 | 4330334 LawsofPhysics
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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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:14 | 4330378 Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

we only bought stuff 90% off ....


Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:33 | 4330416 dobermangang
dobermangang's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:55 | 4330336 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

October revised lower too. Just like December will be.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:56 | 4330341 dobermangang
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:57 | 4330342 papaswamp
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%

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:07 | 4330359 firstdivision
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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:59 | 4330346 gendumonde
gendumonde's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:16 | 4330382 Darksky
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:01 | 4330352 eclectic syncretist
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. 

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:13 | 4330372 LawsofPhysics
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:29 | 4330406 Handful of Dust
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:12 | 4330523 freedogger
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:08 | 4330353 Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:03 | 4330355 Rainman
Rainman's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:22 | 4330391 Deo vindice
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:28 | 4330405 Rainman
Rainman's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:38 | 4330433 Deo vindice
Deo vindice's picture

Interesting comparison. I didn't know that.

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:11 | 4330366 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Everybody was hoarding food for the vortex!

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:13 | 4330373 ifishivote
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:30 | 4330401 dobermangang
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?

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:47 | 4330451 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Go long guns, ammo and boiled rope.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:35 | 4330571 The_Ungrateful_Yid
The_Ungrateful_Yid's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:41 | 4330434 Racer
Racer's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:41 | 4330436 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:46 | 4330443 yogibear
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. 

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:57 | 4330485 aVileRat
aVileRat's picture

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

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