Here we go with the "but, but, Sandy" excuses. The just announced October retail sales tumbled, with their worst miss of expectations since May 2010, and the first sequential decline since June: printing at -0.3% for both the headline and the 'ex autos and gas', on expectations of a -0.2% and +0.4% rise. Ignoring for a second that the Commerce Department said that Hurricane Sandy had both positive (remember those massive lines in various stores ahead of Sandy) and negative impacts on retail sales, it would be truly inconceivable for the sellside Wall Street consensus of diploma'ed PhDs, which knew about Sandy's impact on retail sales well in advance, and thus could adjust its numbers, to actually, you know, adjust its numbers. Either way there is no way to spin the longer term major store sales trend (last chart), which shows that the US consumer, out of money, out of credit, and out of savings is entering the holiday season with little to zero disposable spending power.
A sequential decline in virtually everything except General Merchandise sales:
Breakdown by category: oops on cars and building materials:
The biggest miss to expectations for core retail sales since 2010:
Finally, the only chart that matters: the long-term trend in true sales. Not pretty:
And in other news, PPI printed a decline of -0.2% - the first drop since May - on expectations of a 0.2% print and up from 1.1%, on sliding energy costs, even as food PPI was up 0.4%.
The evil, evil deflation is once again coming back, which is good: at least what little money US consumers have will have slightly more purchasing power. At least until the Fed starts outright monetizing $85 billion in total securities starting January.