Consumers Can Still Fog A Mirror

Down but not out, the American consumer showed that he had more staying power than given credit for. Sales for November were down 1.8% but that beat most of the bearish expectations.

This wasn’t enough to satisfy a lot of economists and in the interest of fairness, let me direct you to the WSJ economics blog where you will find a sampling of sentiment. Here is an example of the skepticism that many exhibit:

It took some mighty discounting to lure them into stores but once there, consumers were willing to spend in November. Sales at clothing stores rose by 0.8%, sales at electronics and appliance stores jumped by 2.8%, while sales at sporting goods and general merchandise stores also posted noteworthy gains. As far as headline sales, however, these gains were overwhelmed by a price induced 14.7% decline in gasoline sales and a 3.3% decline in sales at auto dealers. On a monthly average basis, gasoline prices declined by 29.1% between October and November, and at least some portion of the cash freed up by this decline found its way into consumer discretionary spending. It is worth noting, however, that even with November’s gains in the above mentioned categories, sales are still down by a sizeable amount compared to their year — ago levels — total retail sales are down by 7.4% over the year. –Richard F. Moody, Mission Residential

I’m heading out to get my shopping done this weekend, so maybe I can pick up some anecdotal evidence about the state of the market.

more:here, chart courtesy of Jake at EconomPicData.com

 

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