We now know that the Retail Apocalypse took another trip downhill during the all-important holiday season. December reports show retail sales declined more in one month than they have since … the Great Recession. Notice what a common refrain that comparison has become.
Retail Apocalypse snowballs downhill
Retail sales dropped 1.2% month-over-month in December, the largest drop since September 2009, according to data from the Census Bureau released Thursday. The dip was broadly unexpected – consensus estimates had foreseen a 0.1% increase in retail sales for the month, according to Bloomberg data. Excluding autos and gas, which can be volatile, core retail sales plunged 1.8%. “[The] fall in retail sales in December was every bit as bad as it looks,” Capital Economics’ Michael Pearce said bluntly. The weakness was broad-based.
The plunge in data was so severe and unexpected by many that some question the Census Bureau’s credibility; but other big financial institutions are revising their outlooks substantially based on the data:
“On the back of this morning’s data… our 4Q real GDP tracking estimate likewise took a big hit, down to 3.1% from 3.7%,” Morgan Stanley’s Ellen Zentner wrote. “The report also has negative implications for consumption growth in the first quarter… Based on this morning’s results, we estimate that 1Q GDP tracking could come in as low as 1%.”
Read the rest here: The Great Recession