When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

U.S. Retail Trend on the Mend

As you know, U.S. retail spending drives nearly three quarters of the U.S. GDP. A close look at retail trending shows a rebound that was good news for holiday retailers. They went into this year’s season with much better control over their inventories and a more calculated approach to their operations than in the later part of 2008 -- back then it appeared that the economy was heading south fast and any calculations for guidance that they had done previously was far helpful.

U.S. Retail Sales Y/Y - 3 Month Moving Average

Chart Source Data:  U.S. Department of Commerce

Besides the overall trend (which continues Northward) many specifically strong sectors point to a revival of the consumer. Health and personal care store sales were +5.1% year over year. Clothing and accessory, sporting goods, hobby, book and music all were similarly strong at +5.0%.

As we've pointed out previously electronic marketers and online mail order houses continue their march upward. The continue to be the growth leader at +10.3%.

The net effect was to raise three-month moving average for total retail sales to +1.9% year over year, the first positive percentage change in 16 months. This is a huge improvement compared to the low for this reading of -10.4% reported in January 2008.

This data continues the string of Christmas week data pointing to a healthy 2010 economically.

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