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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Miss Expectations
by Tom Moeller January 15, 2008

U.S. retail sales fell 0.4% last month and missed expectations for no change. November's gain was revised down slightly to 1.0% and the October figure also was revised down slightly to no change.

Excluding autos sales similarly fell short of expectations for no change and fell 0.4% after slight downward revisions during the prior two months.

Less gasoline & autos, sales fell 0.2% and prior months' results were taken down.

Sales of discretionary items gave back much of their strong November increases. Apparel store sales fell 2.0% (+1.7% y/y) and the prior month was revised down to a 1.6% increase. Furniture, home furnishings & appliance store sales also fell 0.6% (+1.3% y/y) and gave back roughly half of a 1.5% November rise that was taken down slightly. Sales of electronics & appliances fell 1.9% but the prior month's spurt was revised up to 3.3%. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 0.3% (3.8% y/y) and November's gain was unrevised at 0.9%.

Food & beverage store sales which totaled $49.1B rose 0.7% (6.0% y/y). Restaurant & drinking place sales of $38.1B rose 0.2% (2.2% y/y).

During December sales of building materials fell 2.9% (-3.4% y/y). It was the largest decline of four during the last five months.

Sales of nonstore retailers (internet & catalogue) rose 1.0% (12.1% y/y) and the prior month's surge was revised up to 2.1%.

Motor vehicle & parts purchases fell 0.4% (-0.1% y/y). The decline was in line with the 0.4% gain in unit sales of light vehicles last month.

Housing, Credit and Consumer Expenditure from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City can be found here.

  December November Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Retail Sales & Food Services -0.4% 1.0% 4.1% 4.1% 6.2% 6.6%
  Excluding Autos -0.4% 1.7% 5.2% 4.6% 7.3% 7.6%
    Less Gasoline -0.2% 0.9% 3.5% 4.3 7.2% 6.6%
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