And so, prepare to see much more of this chart which as we warned will be used as justification to explain why retail sales not only just tumbled, but posted their worst miss since June 2012. Retail sales, which incidentally, just happen to be seasonally adjusted precisely to account for such shocking phenomena as snow in the winter:
- Headline retail sales plunged -0.4% on expectations of a 0.0% print.
- December headline retail sales were revised from 0.2% to -0.1%, which also means that the December data was in fact a miss of expectations of 0.1%, not a beat as was reported at the time, and also means retail sales have now missed three months in a row. We know, we know: the weather.
- Retail sales ex autos were unchanged atg 0.0%, on expectations of 0.1%, with December also revised from a “beating” 0.7% to a miss of 0.3%
- Retail sales ex autos and gas dropped -0.2%, on expectations of a 0.1% increase, with December revised far lower from 0.6% to 0.1%
In other words: yet another confirmation that the US consumer is tapped out thanks to draining his savings during the holiday season, and also hinting that the inevitable untaper is coming far sooner than expected.
And before the spin brigade comes out, with their ridiculous justifications that Americans just refuse to shop on Amazon and click on Jeff Bezos loss leaders when it is, gasp, snowing outside in the winter, we wonder how they will expect that even as clothing and sporting goods sales dropped 0.9% and 1.4% respectively, that sales of building material actually rose 1.4% in December.
Perhaps Americans don’t buy winter clothing in the winter, and instead purchase patio furniture.