While all eyes have been on the inflation prints, and soaring consumer debt (and plunging savings rates), this morning we get an idea of that consumer ‘strength’ via the December retail sales data. Consensus expected a headline decline of 0.9% MoM, while the more accurate forecaster BofA expects an even more serious decline:
BofA was correct again as the headline retail sales print for December tumbled 1.1% MoM – the biggest monthly drop since July 2021 and second straight monthly drop…
10 of 13 retail categories fell last month, according to the report, including motor vehicles, furniture and electronics. The value of sales at gasoline stations slumped 4.6% as prices steadily dropped.
On a YoY basis, retail sales were flat at +6.0%, but core retail sales rose 6.7% YoY…
Finally, the control group – which feeds directly into the GDP calculation – tumbled 0.7% MoM (more than double as bad as the 0.3% decline expected)
And bear in mind, this data is notional, not real, so ‘real’ spending was down significantly.