It may come as a shocker to some, but hopefully not to anyone here, that September retail sales were arguably the worst of the year excluding the "abortion" that was the Polar Vortex. The simple reason: after the US consumer loaded up on debt in the spring and the summer, the payback hangover has finally hit with the payment due in the mail resulting in a collapse in revolving credit as reported previously, and as the September retail sales just confirmed:
- Headline retail sales: -0.3% missing expectations of a -0.1% decline, and down from the 0.6% in August
- Retail sales ex-Autos -0.2%, missing expectations of a +0.2% increase, and down from +0.3%.
- Retail sales ex-Autos and gas: -0.1%, missing expectations of a solid 0.4% rebound and down from 0.5%
And not just that: clothing stores dropped -1.2%, sporting goods dropped -0.1%, furniture was down -0.8%, miscellaneous retailers -0.2%, and, sorry Jeff Bezos, online "non-store retailers" such as Amazon declined -1.1%.
Because nothing screams recovery like the US consumer slamming the spending breaks just as the holiday season begins to unwind.
Finally, the all important Retail Sales Control posted its first sequential decline since unprecedented "snow in the winter" January.
And there goes the latest recovery dead cat bounce.