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Headline Retail Sales Miss For Third Month In A Row, First Threepeat Miss Since July 2008

Tyler Durden's picture


And so the great American retail recovery continues being delayed following the third consecutive miss in headline retail sales in a row, despite what was ridiculous and erroneously touted as a record spending season. Well here come the 'product returns' as retailer margins shrink further into negative territory. Today's advance retail sales number came at 0.4% on expectations of a 0.8% increase, from a downward revised 0.0% (0.1% previously), which makes a mockery of both the car sales numbers in December which were the weakest link in today's retail sales, and of surging consumer credit as it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that US consumers are now using credit cards for the most basic of staples, forget discretionary purchases! And while the number below the headlines was modestly better with ex autos and gas coming at 0.6% on expectations of 0.5%, the prior revision took December to a decline -0.2% from a previously unchanged number. In other words, expect today's ex cars and gas number to be revised to a miss next month as as the Census Bureau learns some key number fudging lessons from the BLS. Yet here is the punchline: there have not been three consecutive retail sales misses since... drumroll please... July 2008. And we all know what happened in the months following. For those who don't, here it is.

Source: Census


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Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:49 | 2157008 dcb
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Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:51 | 2157016 rosex229
rosex229's picture

but, but, but... the economy is zooming forward!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:59 | 2157056 JohnnyBriefcase
JohnnyBriefcase's picture

[puts on Wile E. Coyote suit]


Lets do this!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:04 | 2157077 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

not for you it isn't.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:05 | 2157086 midtowng
midtowng's picture

The miss won't be reported. Only the positive number.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:40 | 2157214 orangedrinkandchips
orangedrinkandchips's picture

fuck yeah it is! just buy some more AMZN!!!

or aapl!!


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:57 | 2157051 4realmoney
Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:49 | 2157010 ZippyBananaPants
ZippyBananaPants's picture

Nothing big happened in July 2008

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:51 | 2157015 AU5K
AU5K's picture

baked in.  plus if consumers are not spending, it just means they have more money to buy stocks.  wildly bullish !

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:51 | 2157020 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

MDB is that you?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:57 | 2157050 AU5K
AU5K's picture

your sarcasm detector is out of batteries.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:56 | 2157045 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Thats gotta be true....Wall St salivating over the broke consumer, how many food stamps does it take to buy an Apple share? 

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:07 | 2157085 Strut
Strut's picture

Let’s see, avg. Food stamp benefit in the us is $125/mo, cash equiv = 30-50% so ~$37-65/mo. 8 to 13 months worth of food stamps will get you one share of AAPL. A bargain!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:24 | 2157155 Use of Weapons
Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:00 | 2157060 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Yeah they're probably all triple long RSI as we speak... & as soon as they frontrun Lloyd in topticking it, they'll bring GS to its knees and celebrate by going out & buying new yoga outfits...

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:51 | 2157017 CreativeDestructor
CreativeDestructor's picture

Rally rally rally rally

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:51 | 2157021 CreativeDestructor
CreativeDestructor's picture

Toga toga toga toga

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:54 | 2157037 tinsmith
tinsmith's picture

Tora Tora Tora

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:56 | 2157044 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Lulu Lulu Lulu

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:57 | 2157049 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Robo Robo Robo

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:02 | 2157068 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Apple, Apple. Apple...

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:06 | 2157087 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

THIS JUST IN! "Due to a bad earngings report from Lulu lemon...a company most Americans think is a food btw...the United States has decided to attack North Korea. BACK TO YOU AT HQ!"

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:07 | 2157093 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:11 | 2157103 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Tyler Tyler Tyler

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:17 | 2157113 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Marcia!  Marcia!  Marcia!

(ok, that's a bit far down the rabbit hole...couldn't help it)  :D

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 11:18 | 2157338 Coast Watcher
Coast Watcher's picture

No no, not at all. I always thought she was hot.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 11:48 | 2157443 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

until Jan got her braces off...

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 13:38 | 2158010 SemperFord
SemperFord's picture

C'mon guys, how about Peggy Bundy!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:52 | 2157022 Clam McCain
Clam McCain's picture

still bullish bitchez

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:52 | 2157025 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Well, ES, in a rare show of sanity, does not like the retail numbers, and it shouldn't.  

Short AMZN to death today.  

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:52 | 2157026 apberusdisvet
apberusdisvet's picture

Hope and change on propaganda, or is that Prozac?

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:53 | 2157032 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Michael Kors seems to be hanging in there.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:54 | 2157033 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

Importing YoY inflation of 7.1%

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:55 | 2157034 Cognitive Dissonance
Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:54 | 2157035 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Gotta be great news....futures recovering into normal 'no matter what, green' state for euphoric George Orwell open.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:05 | 2157082 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

I give the correction 5 or 6 minutes today.  

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:56 | 2157039 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Surging equities, primarily in the retail sector driving the S & P 500 to new 3-year highs.


XRT sitting at record highs right now.

And on top of that, "King Dollar" is also driving U.S. Equities to new highs when priced in foreign currencies.

Basically, we have a complete nightmare for:

- Peter Schiff

- Jim Willie CB

- James Turk

- General Jim

New highs in SPY priced in Euros and British Pounds


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:59 | 2157057 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I can't speak for the rest of those names but you obviously do not follow Schiff.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:00 | 2157061 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

OMG...I cant WAIT till whatever morning this Rube Goldberg contraption flies into a million pieces and youre never heard from again.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:03 | 2157070 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

i find pSchiff kinda creepy, politically

i don't thing we'd be friends

the other guys, i might get along with better

i would like to meet jimWillie someday;  just to shake his hand and tell him how much i have appreciated his incredible body of work over the years

guy's got a punch, too!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:07 | 2157092 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I hear you on that one. He does not lack confidence and people don't tend to like that. Sometimes he does not let his guests speak and that is annoying. He is also an unabashed salesman. But his general thesis is hard to argue with.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:10 | 2157100 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

willie's posts should appear in ZH. He is the top gold bug with insights like no one else.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:03 | 2157073 Theta_Burn
Theta_Burn's picture

You can add my name to the complete nightmare list....Fucking SPY

Downgrades/riots/Japanese Monetary Bukake, another up day.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:04 | 2157075 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

You forgot Bob Janjuah and that old dude that appeared on Bloomberg two weeks ago calling a top.  

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:09 | 2157099 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

driving the S & P 500 to new 3-year highs.



The S&P 500 priced in gold is flirting with its March 2009 lows.  It's down a healthy 7% this year already...worse priced in silver.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:10 | 2157102 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

as the chart shows the retailers were the first to come out of the collapse. which was surprising to me because that normally pre-sages a broad based market rally...which indeed did occur. since the retail space is nothing but "a history of price wars" this year will be a great test of competitiveness while still remaining profitable/in business for not just retailers but in my view the economy as a whole.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:18 | 2157123 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture


Well, no, pSchiff has always discussed the meaning of a higher s&p as evidence of inflation. He has always said to look at it in gold units. If you do that, you see that the stock market continues to be a really, really bad investment.

There is really no secret here. There is no economic growth, just inflation that looks like growth, but it's illusory.

Read a book, man!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:56 | 2157046 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

It was a good number ex aircraft but less so when you back out spaceship flex capacitor's. But you have to account for the seasonality of the petrified sap that has encased the mosquito's holding dino dna which will create dino theme parks and will lead to the tourism boom. So it's hard to take the numbers at face value is I guess what I am saying.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:02 | 2157066 tinsmith
tinsmith's picture

Cramer says dinosaur theme parks are gonna be big this summer. He's gonna have the CFO on tonight.......

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:58 | 2157054 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

I'm surprised at the Retail Sales miss....I figured I would have put it well into the green myself by buying a new Meucci pool cue last month!

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:16 | 2157115 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

happy valentimes day, BiCheZ!

SD-1, here is your new electric collar!

you can never run away, no matter how old and crazy you get, and, if you jump up on the couch, you get tasered!


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 09:59 | 2157058 Dan Conway
Dan Conway's picture

Buy more AAPL? 

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:01 | 2157063 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

What's the happy median ?  If bernank only prints say $500 billion and gas only goes up a dollar couldn't that produce a .03% increase in GDP ? Or should he risk printing a trillion and letting gasoline go to $6 and manage a .05 % increase in GDP ?  There has to be a happy median where just the right dose of fiat creates enough growth to sustain the ponzi regardless of fuel prices no ?


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:07 | 2157090 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Gotta be some magical figure out there....let's consult the Oracles.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 11:53 | 2157463 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

Sorry, I'm busy.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:04 | 2157076 JohnnyBriefcase
JohnnyBriefcase's picture

I'm finding this difficult to masturbate to.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:21 | 2157135 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

try turning the Wile E. Coyote suit inside-out

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:25 | 2157161 JohnnyBriefcase
JohnnyBriefcase's picture

Nope, still not working.

Where did I put that picture of Lagarde...



Tue, 02/14/2012 - 18:22 | 2159464 StychoKiller
Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:04 | 2157078 wonderatitall
wonderatitall's picture

sounds wonderfull to me. just a sort of bad number. one number does not a trend make, unless it is somewhat good then it solidifies master obama's re coronation as president 4 life.

this is what you wanted...this is what you get. bad life.

now i can get that baloney sammich on good terms

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:04 | 2157079 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

Late winter of winning

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:05 | 2157080 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I know this is anecdotal , but when I walk into Walmart other than food, a lot of their shelves are bare. The first time I saw it I thought it was odd but I see it all the time. They aren't even bothering to stock them. Another thing I've noticed is that I never have to wait in line. There just aren't any shoppers.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:23 | 2157151 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

I wouldnt know, I dont go to Walmart but it doesnt surprise me to hear.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 11:53 | 2157460 junkyardjack
junkyardjack's picture

You probably went in there the day that the WIC cards were refilled

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:06 | 2157089 Dermasolarapate...
Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

"Everything is fine"...seasonally adjusted...looking forward....corrected for inflation...."just fine"

I went to three department stores this weekend. The women were only looking at stuff on the 80% discounted racks.....


Only buy "stuff" discounted 80% or name it.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 11:24 | 2157129 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

or better yet escape the tax munching ponzi and only buy at flea markets, thrift shops, yardsales  and craigslist or as much as is possible.

Start getting small and humble bitches!


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:19 | 2157125 monopoly
monopoly's picture

It is all coming together. Just takes time. 

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:25 | 2157163 adr
adr's picture

I wonder what retail sales would have been without the year end massive chargebacks for extra inventory? Like last year and every other year, when Under Armorand others had to buy back millions worth of unsold inventory. That chargeback is then booked as income for the retailer. Even though a sale never existed. That is because the vendor is charged 100% of wholesale for the chargeback, but during the year up to 6.5% over wholesale was deducted for advertising allowance, defective product, etc. 6.5% the vendor will never get back, nor was ever really used for anything the retailer promised. A great way to serve up the books extra crispy.

Then after the retailer's fiscal year that same inventory is rebought by the retailer helping to show good sales to start the year for the product vendor, and juicing their respective stock. Showing hundreds of millions in "sales" without a product ever being sold to a consumer. Along with the automatic 20% discount on merchandise ordered for new stores, giving on average 80% margin, the retailer uses a different division of the corporation to sell the product to its own stores at 60%. Booking a 20% immediate "profit" before the product even goes to a store. Thus making retail sales look great, therefore juicing the retailer's stock.

MMMM Retail Ponzi.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:48 | 2157245 pepperspray
pepperspray's picture

I read this twice.  I see

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:40 | 2157216 tiwimon
tiwimon's picture


/times 3

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:56 | 2157271 orangedrinkandchips
orangedrinkandchips's picture

SPEED, the movie is the ecomony....we are in the bus and HAVE to make 20B a month in new money or we explode....


no long do we have gas to keep the bus running???


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 12:22 | 2157607 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

But companies are restocking shelves and expecting sales, guys!

The amount of hubris, nevermind hopium, amongst those in the media really amazes me sometimes.  I want things to be better, but they are not.  They are just not (for those who live in the "real" economy)! 

And for those to think that they are, just because there's a SLIGHT improvement in the economy, is either ignorant, stupid, or irresponsible.  It's like losing your shit on the sidelines after scoring a touchdown, despite being down 42-14 in the 4th quarter. 

Remember, the economy had a nice uptick before the '07-'09 crashes as well.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 13:01 | 2157812 OutLookingIn
OutLookingIn's picture

The clouds on the horizon are slowly darkening.

The wind has freshened and starting to get stronger.

The calm before this coming storm has now passed.

If not prepared by now, then time is very short indeed!

The ferrocity with which it hits will shock. Many will perish.

Many more will find harsh and cruel conditions. Outlook? Dismal.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:21 | 2159898 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

CNBC actually also reported a rise in December business inventories. Uh oh. Time for layoffs again.

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