Wikinvest Wire

Retail sales unexpectedly decline

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To the surprise of most analysts, the Commerce Department reported retail sales fell 1.1 percent in March following an upwardly revised gain of 0.3 percent in February, the most recent decline paced by tumbling sales of electronics, appliances, and automobiles.
IMAGE On a year-over-year basis, retail sales were down 9.4 percent, an improvement from the December low of minus 10.5 percent, but worse than February's 7.9 percent annual decline.

Excluding automobiles, retail sales fell 0.9 percent in March after a gain of 1.0 percent in February and, from year ago levels, retail sales ex-autos are now down 6.0 percent.

The higher jobless rate was blamed for the most recent downturn, lower prices and other incentives at clothing stores and auto dealers failing to spur buying interest from the public, however, a relatively late Easter holiday may have also had an impact.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores tumbled 5.9 percent, automobile dealers saw a 2.5 percent reduction in overall sales, and spending at clothing stores fell 1.8 percent.

With the exception of modest increases at food and beverage stores and for health and personal care items, receipts for every other retail category declined. The 1.4 percent drop in spending at food services and drinking places was the sharpest decline in three years.

The effect of the long, slow decline in housing continues to be felt in the home furnishings industry as sales fell 1.7 percent in March and are now 13.1 percent lower than a year ago.
IMAGE The year-over-year decline in furniture sales is exceeded only by the 34 percent decline in gasoline station sales (mostly due to lower prices) and the 26 percent decline in automobile sales (mostly due to fewer sales).


SPECTRE of Deflation said...

What Galaxy are the anal-ysts from? How exactly is retail sales supposed to rise when the consumer who is 2/3 of the economy and has a debt to income of 135% and rising unemployment supposed to increase purchases? Of couse those looking for inflation will be upset with these numbers because it doesn't neatly fit their model, and it will be a very long time before it does. 350% Debt to GDP say they are insane!

PF said...

You deflation nutballs are loonier than the gold bugs.

Tim said...

Now, now - play nice.

Anonymous said...

This is only a surprise to those analyst who mistook some good days in the stock market, for the performance of the REAL ECONOMY. Until unemployment starts to fall there is no improvement in the real economy.

Anonymous said...

One less "green shoot" it would appear......

Unknown said...

All I know is that a pound of bologna at Super Walmart was once $1, then $1.16, then $1.25 and now is back to $1. I never thought they'd lower prices when they got them higher, but they did. Somebody check the price of toaster waffles as well--I was really mad when the price of those came off a dollar, I bet those are back down too. Where else have you seen real prices falling?

Pool Shark said...


"You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means."

John S said...

On the plus side, by November sales won't be down 10 or 20% year over year anymore. But they won't be up either. Where sales are now is the new normal -- if we're lucky.


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