By the Numbers
Featuring brief segments of economic analysis from our senior economist Michael Bazdarich, PhD.
The economic analysis we previously featured in By the Numbers is now available on the Western Asset Blog. This page will no longer be updated.
As seen in the accompanying chart, for the last six months as a whole, control sales rose at a 2.7% rate. This is not bad, but it is considerably slower than the 4.6% growth rate that appeared to be in place six months ago.
Within store types, sales growth was soft at vehicle dealers, electronics stores, book and sporting goods stores and, surprisingly, online retailers. The latter had been the darling of the retail analysts earlier this year. The three former store types would typically be hot sectors early in a holiday season. The one sector showing favorable sales growth in November was grocery stores, which had struggled through the first eight months of the year.
As regular readers of this column know, we try not to get too ruffled up by any one month’s number, weak or strong. A month ago, we were circumspect about the strong growth seen then, pointing out that it had been preceded by three soft sales prints over the summer months. We will provide similar perspective here.
Beneath the monthly ups and downs, retail sales growth looks steady. There are no signs of impending doom, but neither are there any substantive indications that consumer spending is set to break out of the generally modest growth trends of recent years. Consumption of services has actually decelerated this year. Goods consumption, reflected by retail sales, has performed better, but even here, growth has been less than spectacular, and today’s news only sustains this narrative.
Michael BazdarichProduct Specialist/Economist
Mike brings more than 44 years of experience to his position. "By the Numbers" will address economic data releases that are pertinent to a broad range of investors.
Prior to joining the Firm in 2005, Mike ran his own consulting firm, MB Economics. He earned his PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago.
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