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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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

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

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

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 13:14 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment RSloane
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.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:12 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment newprepper
newprepper's picture

Made by children for children. Ahh China.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:23 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

It's all Bullshit!!!  Rally on

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

buy with MOAR debt - that fixes everything

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:52 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:54 | Link to Comment monopoly
monopoly's picture

Oh oh!

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:55 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment dobermangang
dobermangang's picture

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 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

and a 500ml flask on the back for booze!



Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:12 | Link to Comment Gazooks
Gazooks's picture

I'd rather a lead pad shooting gold

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:14 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And a iBugoutPad! (4 day batterypack)


Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:55 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
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.

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

we only bought stuff 90% off ....


Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:33 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

October revised lower too. Just like December will be.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:56 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment gendumonde
gendumonde's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:16 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment Rainman
Rainman's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:22 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Everybody was hoarding food for the vortex!

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:13 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

Go long guns, ammo and boiled rope.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:35 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment Racer
Racer's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:41 | Link to Comment NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:46 | Link to Comment 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 | Link to Comment aVileRat
aVileRat's picture

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

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:04 | Link to Comment redbird
redbird's picture

My cellular service provider just called with "great news".  Seems they have some awesome financing available on the new ipad air.   Sorry don't need one.



Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:04 | Link to Comment freedogger
freedogger's picture

"Electronic Sales Tumble" - Everyone that would want an I-whatever, already has one. I have zero motivation to buy anything with windows 8, it just means a wasted weekend putting windows 7 and all its glorious updates on it. For my kids who are just starting to get curious about computers, its going to be using old laptops from work and putting DoudouLinux on them:

So yeah, I've been a tech nerd for decades and I feel very little need to buy anything for work or for my family in the near future.

The only *bright* spot for non-mac pc related sales is scrypt based coin mining rigs. Pretty hard to find a fair priced high end AMD gaming card or a pc power supply over 1000 watts in my city right now. 

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:10 | Link to Comment RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

I don't understand why sales are not up, the model numbers are increasing?

Maybe IPad7 or Surface9

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:31 | Link to Comment FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

As I said yesterday, MOAR IPADS!

+1,000,000,000,000 FOR recalendarization.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:42 | Link to Comment Ms. Erable
Ms. Erable's picture

Looks like we're there.

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:54 | Link to Comment The Merovingian
The Merovingian's picture

+1 ... we are certainly very close

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 12:03 | Link to Comment eric89074
eric89074'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."

That's becuase the Surface was such a bomb Microsoft had to take a $900 million write down on those pieces of shit. They probably didn't even produce 1/10 of Surface2s as they did the original. Most tablet makers have finally figured out that it's an iPad and everything else market. Microsoft hasn't but will soon after the Surface2 fares just as poorly as the original.

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 14:54 | Link to Comment Falling Down
Falling Down's picture

Walked into a Best Buy the Saturday night before Christmas. Place was almost a ghost town, lots of tire kickers, and hardly anyone in the TV section.

All I needed was an HDMI cable to complete a gift. Seriously, how does Best Buy stay open?

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