Earlier we just got confirmation out of Best Buy that one can not, as expected, offset negative margins with near-infinite volume (as the stock tumbles). Now we get advance retail sales proving that all speculation about a record Black Friday was just that. Oh, and a lie. In short - everything missed. Advance retails sales in November (including Thanksgiving) came at 0.2%, on expectations of 0.6%, and down from a revised 0.6%. Retail sales less autos was 0.2%, half of the expected 0.4%, while ex Auto and Gas also printed at 0.2%, also missing big. So... where did all the money go, aside from generating even more negative profits for retailers, who now have to eat a huge cash hole in addition to everything? Or were speculations that Black Friday was a bust, spot on? Expect lower Q4 GDP revisions based on this data.
From the report:
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $399.3 billion, an increase of 0.2 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 6.7 percent (±0.7%) above November 2010. Total sales for the September through November 2011 period were up 7.4 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The September to October 2011 percent change was revised from +1.1 percent (±0.3) to +1.3 percent (±0.3%).
Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from October 2011, and 6.8 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Nonstore retailers sales were up 13.9 percent (±2.3%) from November 2010 and gasoline stations sales were up 12.9 percent (±1.7%) from last year.