Whenever I see a blaring headline in the MSM screaming how great the economy is doing, my bullshit meter alarm bells go off. This is today’s feel good lie, designed to keep the masses sedated and believing all is well.
BIGGEST JUMP IN RETAIL SALES SINCE SEPTEMBER 2012
When confronted with vacuous MSM cheer leading I always go to the actual data and see what it tells me.
Here is the link to the actual data: http://www.census.gov/retail/marts/www/marts_current.pdf
When I peruse the data, I see an entirely different picture than the one portrayed by the talking heads on CNBC and the faux journalist clowns from the financial websites and legacy media. Here are my observations and conclusions:
- The government loves to get creative with those seasonal adjustments. Luckily, they include the adjusted numbers along with the unadjusted numbers in their press release. Using the ADJUSTED numbers the year over year increase in March was a healthy 3.8%. Using the non government manipulated numbers you get a not so hot 2.5%. This is actually below the real inflation level in the economy, so on a REAL basis retail sales were negative.
- It gets even worse when you remove automobile sales. You do know that automakers record a sale when they jam their inventory down the throats of their dealers, don’t you? Those sales are not to actual people. And the sales to actual people aren’t really sales. They are subprime debt financed rentals by Americans up to their eyeballs in debt. ADJUSTED retail sales excluding autos were up only 2.6% over last year.
- The very same MSM that is touting this tremendous retail sales jump was using the bad weather meme as the reason for poor sales in the last four months. There should have been a subsequent rebound if the weather was to blame. The best gauge on how well retail is booming is to look at the first three months of this year versus the first three months of last year. Let’s check it out:
- Total retail sales are up a pitiful 2.2% YTD and excluding the government subsidized auto sales, up a horrible 1.5%. After real inflation, retail sales are falling by 3% or more. This might explain the thousands of retail store closing announcements and the dreadful profits being reported across the board by retailers.
- Discretionary retailers are reporting horrific results. People have to eat, cloth themselves, and buy gasoline. They don’t have to buy furniture, electronics, appliances or sporting goods. Furniture stores are -0.3% YTD, Electronics and Appliance stores are -1.5% YTD, and Sporting Goods stores are -6.3% YTD. How could we be having a housing recovery when Furniture and Appliance stores have negative sales?
- Even more disturbing is that clothing stores are -0.4% YTD and general merchandise stores are -0.1% YTD. Department stores (Pennys, Sears, Kohls) are absolutely imploding with -5.6% YTD sales. This is all before inflation.
Online retailers are the only bright spot at 6.6% YTD sales gains. Even that is weak compared to the 10% to 15% gains seen in prior years. The 4.4% increase in drugstore sales is not a positive, as higher prices and all that free Obamacare is driving sales higher. Retail sales YTD have been atrocious. They are running below the real inflation rate.
The blaring headlines today are nothing more than propaganda designed to sooth the masses and make them buy stocks. Don’t believe what they say. Believe your own eyes as you see more and more SPACE AVAILABLE signs in front of formerly operating retail stores.
See that blip up in late 2007, just before the plunge. Get ready for the next plunge.