Retail Sales Beat Following Sharp January Downward Revision: Control Group Decline Continues

Tyler Durden's picture

When retail sales last month came in far weaker than expected, it was the weather's fault. A month later, we find that the January retail sales were even weaker than expected, with the headline number revised from a -0.4% drop to -0.6%, the ex autos number revised from unchanged to -0.3%, and the ex autos and gas whose drop more than doubled from -0.2% to -0.5%. Oh well: one can't go back in time and force the algos to soar even more (since everyone knows bad news is great news). So how about February? Well, apparently it warmed up because despite expectations of a 0.2% increase in headline and ex auto and gas retail sales, the actual prints were 0.3% for both, beating by the tiniest of margins, yet net lower when adding the January revision. Of course, what happens in April, when the March data too is revised lower, is irrelevant - all that will matter is the current month numbers all of which recently seem to get an odd "optimism" boost that promptly fades away in no time.

Finally, let's ignore that the unadjusted February number was actually a decline from $390billion to $385 billion. Then again seasonal adjustments only matter these days when they are used to scapegoat.

For those curious just how much real "growth" there is in retail spending, here is the annual change in the control group, which excludes food, auto dealers, building materials and gas stations, and feeds directly into GDP: it rose 0.3% from January, even as January was sharply revised from -0.2% to -0.6%, meaning net impact on GDP for Q1 is negative!

As for the breakdown of sales by category, it would appear that in February Americans weren on a sporting goods, hobby book and music store buying spree, with the sales print up 2.5%, and the other notable increase was in non-store retailers, i.e. Internet Sales, up 1.2% which would make sense if one is trying to scapegoat the weather. There were sales declines in Electronics and Appliance stores, Food and beverage stores and General Merchandise stores: hardly the stuff of robust spending recoveries.


Finally, a bonus chart via @Not_Jim_Cramer - retail sales vs consumer confidence.

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skwid vacuous's picture

...To be revised lower next month, wash rinse repeat

Headbanger's picture

Fuck retail sales already!



But.. This retail sales number only means one thing:  MOAR TAPER!

Jason T's picture

while that was a bit entertaining.. it's a bit depressing too.  too see arnold in those mint scenes and then see his crushing things with a tank like some kind of a child... 

what about "crush your enemies" when asked "what is best in life?"


Max Damage's picture

Any upward revisions to banker suicides?

observer007's picture

The MH370 Mystery:

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NDXTrader's picture

It seems that this number got leaked yesterday at 10:30 ET. Of course, only to "subscribers"

dobermangang's picture

Lots of stores closing.  Nine retailers closing the most stores:


insanelysane's picture

CNBS guest says that brick and mortar retail is having more openings than closings.  lmao!

Carl Popper's picture

I have a serious question. 


If the sheeple are fooled into confidence and spending more money isn't it better for the rest of us if the ponzi keeps going for a long time?  

What is the benefit to those of us with OK jobs (the majority) for the ponzi to crash now?


Is it the risk that they might succeed in saving a neo feudal corrupt system?  Is the crash going to be any worse 10 years from now as compared to crashing today?  If you drown does it matter if the water is ten feet versus forty feet deep?


Don't we have less time to prepare and less time to enjoy the good life if the sheeple quit going in to debt?  


Are there any ethical or moral arguments in the "crash now versus delay until later" debate?

Seasmoke's picture

You are thinking like a globalist. Elitist. 

insanelysane's picture

Unfortunately for the sheeple, even if they believe the BS, their wages are stagnant and the price of food and fuel are up, so they don't have the money or credit to buy, buy, buy.  The govmint could keep the ponzi going if they announced a reduction in some tax like the temp soc security one that was in place a few years ago.  That would give the sheeple some sheckels that they would gladly use to buy iCrap.

insanelysane's picture

This guy David Henry, guest on CNBS, just said store closures are bullish because the closures are the only thing in the news and that other companies are opening stores.  So we should be bullish if (and it is a big IF), if every closure is offset by an opening.  I would call that treading water.  He also said that mall traffic is up.  CNBS might want to do random drug tests on their guests and of course, never trust anyone with two first names.

Dr. Engali's picture

The fucker is insane. There aren't any store openings to speak of and as far as mall traffic being up, that much is true but nobody is buying anything. 

kenezen's picture

Who is voting for this guy? retail in the tank! Mass closings of stores. being lied to  about unemployment daily.  Our kids from high school without jobs. No real heavy industry MFG. Historic lows. Socialist practices in federal government. Violations of our 4th Amendment. Dictatorial actions through Executive decrees!      

Ghostdog's picture

Mall traffic is up because teen-age boyz is trollin for female teen-age pun-tang....

Midnight Rider's picture

Reminds me of the old joke... This place sucks. Now let's be positive... Ok, this place positively sucks. Consumer confidence increases as retail sales decreases... The economy must positively suck.