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Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:43 AM

U.S. Retail Sales Slide Sharply as Inflation Weighs on Consumers

Source: Bloomberg, via Yahoo! Finance

Bloomberg

U.S. Retail Sales Slide Sharply as Inflation Weighs on Consumers

Molly Smith
Fri, January 14, 2022, 8:32 AM · 1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. retail sales slumped in December by the most in 10 months, suggesting the fastest inflation in decades is taking a greater toll on consumers just as the nation confronts more coronavirus infections.

The value of overall purchases decreased 1.9%, after a revised 0.2% gain a month earlier, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, suggesting price-adjusted receipts were even weaker than the headline number. ... The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.1% drop in overall retail sales from the prior month.

The year-end slide in retail purchases sets up for a tepid handoff to the first quarter. Combined with the impact from the omicron variant, which is denting outlays for services such as travel and dining out, the figures help explain why economists project household spending to soften.

Furthermore, falling price-adjusted wages, dwindling savings and the end of the government’s pandemic-related financial programs suggest a more moderate pace of spending.

{snip}

Read more: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-retail-sales-slide-sharply-133208932.html



Placeholder article at The Wall Street Journal.:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/us-economy-december-2021-retail-sales-11642109934

ECONOMY * U.S. ECONOMY

Retail Sales Seen Leveling Off as Record Holiday Shopping Season Ended

Many U.S. consumers heeded warnings about shipping delays, pushing a large share of period’s usual gains to earlier in year

By Gabriel T. Rubin
https://twitter.com/Rubinations
Jan. 14, 2022 5:30 am ET

Sales at U.S. retail stores, online vendors and restaurants are expected to have leveled off in December, ending a record holiday shopping season that included a resurgent Covid-19 pandemic, historically high inflation and supply-chain snags.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate that retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in December from the prior month. Such a reading would mark a subdued end to record retail sales that started with a 1.8% gain in October.

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply U.S. Retail Sales Slide Sharply as Inflation Weighs on Consumers (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 14 OP
Sherman A1 Jan 14 #1
Deminpenn Jan 14 #4
FBaggins Jan 14 #5
House of Roberts Jan 14 #7
Sherman A1 Jan 14 #8
Alexander Of Assyria Jan 14 #9
onenote Jan 14 #15
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 14 #2
Alexander Of Assyria Jan 14 #10
durablend Jan 14 #12
Alexander Of Assyria Jan 14 #13
IronLionZion Jan 14 #3
Lovie777 Jan 14 #6
Alexander Of Assyria Jan 14 #11
GB_RN Jan 14 #14
onenote Jan 14 #16
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 14 #19
progree Jan 14 #17
roamer65 Jan 14 #18
Marthe48 Jan 14 #20
roamer65 Jan 14 #21

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:46 AM

1. So, if I read this correctly

Consumers simply did their shopping earlier and it was still a record holiday season.

Sales always drop after the holidays so I’m not seeing this as a huge concern.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 09:03 AM

4. This

My sense is there was a lot of pent up demand that played out over the holidays.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 09:14 AM

5. Not exactly

The OP combines two articles. The second one (that implies what you said) was based on estimates for what the retail sales number would come in at.

The first article is the actual result - much worse than anticipated in the second.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 09:42 AM

7. A record amount of money was spent in the holiday season,

not a record amount of VALUE of goods purchased. We paid more for less per dollar.

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Response to House of Roberts (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 09:50 AM

8. Agreed

I know that I for one did not see nearly the sales or deals that I saw the year prior. I stocked up on hobby items during the 2020 holiday season and really couldn't find much in the way of any real bargains this year. I have now turned my attention to the second hand market for my purchases.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 10:00 AM

9. What you read in article is capitalist nonsense. Another article will tell you, think there were

some last month…Consumer spending soars in anticipation of inflation!…total opposite opinions trotted out so the blank pages of the media can be filled…with something something.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 11:21 AM

15. Sales do not "always drop after the holidays"

In fact, since 2010, January sales have been higher than December sales more often than not, including 2018/2019, 2019/2020, and 2020/2021.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:52 AM

2. U.S. Retail Sales Fell 1.9% in December

ECONOMY | U.S. ECONOMY

U.S. Retail Sales Fell 1.9% in December

Many U.S. consumers heeded warnings about shipping delays, pushing a large share of holiday shopping season’s usual gains to earlier in year

By Gabriel T. Rubin
https://twitter.com/Rubinations
Updated Jan. 14, 2022 8:39 am ET

U.S. retail sales dropped by 1.9% in December as the Omicron variant and inflation surged, the Commerce Department said Friday. Sales grew by 16.9% last year on strong consumer demand.

Many holiday shoppers heeded warnings about shipping delays, pushing a large share of the holiday shopping season’s usual gains to earlier in the year.

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Economic Report

U.S. retail sales sink 1.9% in December in biggest decline in 10 months

Last Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:35 a.m. ET
First Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:18 a.m. ET

By Jeffry Bartash

Omicron and inflation are big worries

The numbers: Sales at U.S. retailers such as Target and WalMart dropped 1.9% in the final month of 2021, as omicron spread like wildfire and shoppers confronted higher prices due to soaring inflation.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.1% decline in December.

If high inflation is taken into account, retail sales were even more sharply depressed in December.

Retail sales excluding auto dealers fell a sharper 2.3% last month, the government said Friday. Car sales tumbled last year after a shortage of computer chips knotted up production.

Retail sales are a big part of consumer spending and offer cues on the strength of the U.S. economy. Sales had risen sharply through most of last year before tapering off in the waning months.

{snip}

About the Author

Jeffry Bartash

jbartash@marketwatch.com
https://twitter.com/jbartash
Jeffry Bartash is a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 10:01 AM

10. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Oh wait, normal post Xmas fluctuation range? Ok then...

American media fails everywhere on everything.

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Response to Alexander Of Assyria (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 10:39 AM

12. Like it or not

Retailers feel that anything that's not a big positive gain is a huge loss.

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Response to durablend (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 10:42 AM

13. That's retailer crazy math. Real math is sane.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:54 AM

3. People are buying tons of stuff because they have good jobs and saved up income

not enough articles about low unemployment numbers or high savings rates and pay raises. People bought less stuff in 2020 and more stuff in 2021.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 09:21 AM

6. My gawd . . ..

most brought early because of the supply chain matter. After Christmas the buying especially on line slowed down.

Damn.

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Response to Lovie777 (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 10:02 AM

11. Oh, forgot about the hyped up supply chain nonsense. What happened to that? All fixed I guess..

time for media to move on to the next concern trolling bait for the public consumption.

And tomorrow…they will feed on their own bait to attack democrats…count on it.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 10:55 AM

14. Probably Ships Still Stuck Off The San Diego Port...

Last edited Fri Jan 14, 2022, 12:01 PM - Edit history (1)

Waiting to unload due to a shortage of truck drivers (COVID, etc). Corporations laid people off in 2020 and took the bailout money, but didn’t hire people back. Now they complain about a worker shortage and are using the port backlog and “worker shortage” as justification to raise prices. In the meantime, corporate profits are at record highs. But the news media aren’t reporting this.

Wonder why?

As my maternal grandmother, a product of the Great Depression used to say, “Never trust a Republican, they’re only for big business.”

Edit to add:
I'd originally had a hard number of 100 ships, and I'd gotten it from a Dan Price tweet. I just googled and the latest I can find is from December. The number then was 46, down from a high of around 100 in November. There was a back logged high of 132 container ships in the Los Angeles/Long Beach port in September, also (per USA Today Fact Check) The administration and the port took some steps to force companies to get their crap moving, by charging a daily storage fee for containers in the port (companies were using the port as a free storage site, basically), and that helped move things along.

So the number that remains in backlog in San Diego is probably somewhat less than that 46, but I can't find a current figure. I wouldn't put it past companies to artificially store stuff to keep things in short supply to justify on the going price hikes, though.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 11:26 AM

16. Additional information from the Commerce Dept. Report

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $626.8 billion, a decrease of 1.9 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, but 16.9 percent (±0.9 percent) above December 2020. Total sales for the 12 months of 2021 were up 19.3 percent (±0.5 percent) from 2020. Total sales for the October 2021 through December 2021 period were up 17.1 percent (±0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The October 2021 to November 2021 percent change was revised from up 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* to up 0.2 percent (±0.3 percent)*.
Retail trade sales were down 2.1 percent (±0.4 percent) from November 2021, but up 14.4 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Gasoline stations were up 41.0 percent (±1.6 percent) from December 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 41.3 percent (±4.0 percent) from last year.

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Response to onenote (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 11:58 AM

19. Thanks. That helps. NT

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 11:46 AM

17. From the source. Yes, they are seasonally adjusted. No, they aren't inflation adjusted

Retail Sales - U.S. Dept of Commerce (yes, they are seasonally adjusted too. No, they are not adjusted for inflation)

https://www.census.gov/retail/index.html

https://www.census.gov/economic-indicators/#retail_sales

https://www.census.gov/retail/marts/www/marts_current.pdf

The below is from the marts_current.pdf link just above. GRRRR on having to download a PDF. I broke the brick of text into shorter paragraphs.

=================================================================

FOR RELEASE AT 8:30 AM EST, FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2022
ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES, DECEMBER 2021
Release Number: CB22-06
January 14, 2022 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced the following advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 20

Advance Estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $626.8 billion, a decrease of 1.9 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, but 16.9 percent (±0.9 percent) above December 2020.

Total sales for the 12 months of 2021 were up 19.3 percent (±0.5 percent) from 2020.

Total sales for the October 2021 through December 2021 period were up 17.1 percent (±0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The October 2021 to November 2021 percent change was revised from up 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* to up 0.2 percent (±0.3 percent)*.

Retail trade sales were down 2.1 percent (±0.4 percent) from November 2021, but up 14.4 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Gasoline stations were up 41.0 percent (±1.6 percent) from December 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 41.3 percent (±4.0 percent) from last year.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 11:51 AM

18. It should cool inflation a bit.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 12:23 PM

20. Maybe hoarders ran out of room

I know I did. All through the isolation phase of Covid-19, many people stocked up shelf stable supplies. I have several friends and relatives who are trying to use up things they bought in Spring 2020 before their use by date expires. I have enough stocked up to last from months to a year. I don't even want to buy anything else, although, to be fair, I ordered a new fan for my bedroom, and more KN95 masks.

What if many others have enough, or too much, right now? What if people discovered they don't need those feel-good shopping trips? What if demand for supplies is so over?

On another note, CBS news is pounding the plight of the trucking industry today. I notice that MSM is systematically slamming selected targets from President Biden to Pete. Whereever they can get a wedge in, it seems to me.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 12:28 PM

21. I know I am going to delay a new car until at least 2026.

Maybe 2027.

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