Tags: Rosenberg | Retail | Sales | Optimism

Rosenberg: Raw Data Show Retail Sales Are Really Falling

Friday, 19 Mar 2010 02:09 PM

Gluskin Sheff analyst David Rosenberg sales all the talk about retail sales improving is wrong: According to raw data, sales actually fell 1.6 percent month-over-month in February, and seasonality just isn't to blame.

“It’s always best to look at what consumers do rather than what they think or say,” Rosenberg wrote in a note to investors.

Weak spending last month would be meaningful if February was usually a weak month for sales compared to January, Rosenberg notes. “But in fact, retail sales rise over half the time in February," he says.

“And while, on average, the not seasonally adjusted retail sales data are down 0.4 percent in each February over the past decade, the reality is that this past February was four times as bad as the norm — not to mention tied for the third-worst February since 1998.”

Additionally, Rosenberg points out, the greatest stimulus experience in seven decades didn’t lift retail sales, which are still down 5 percent from the pre-recession peak and on a per capital basis are down 8 percent.

“Sales are actually lower today than they were in January 2006 — four years ago — even though the population has risen 4.3 percent over this time,” he says.

Monthly retail sales figures released by the Department of Commerce on March 15 showed strong gains despite foul weather conditions that plagued much of the East Coast in February, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

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Gluskin Sheff analyst David Rosenberg sales all the talk about retail sales improving is wrong: According to raw data, sales actually fell 1.6 percent month-over-month in February, and seasonality just isn't to blame. It s always best to look at what consumers do rather...
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2010-09-19
Friday, 19 Mar 2010 02:09 PM
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