Retail Sales: What's Hot? What's Not? What's Next?


Retail Sales rose 0.3% in October less than the consensus 0.4%. Revisions took September down from 1.9% to 1.6%.

Advance Retail Sales 

Retail Sales 2020-10

The above table from Econoday. 

Month-to-month percentages are totally distorted by Covid. Charts show the trends better.

Advance Retail Sales for 2020

Advance Retail Sales Select Categories 2020-10 Detail

Motor vehicles and parts recovered. Nonstore retailers accelerated, Food and drinking places, gas stations, and departments stores are weak. 

General merchandise stores like Walmart regained the previous trend but no more. 

Because they also sold food, General Merchandise stores stayed open in the lockdowns but Department Stores didn't. 

As restaurants opened up food and beverage stores slipped but remain above the pre-Covid levels.

This was the expected behavior.

What's Next?

Due to huge outbreaks of Covid, Food and Drinking Places will take another hit. 

More layoffs in the hospitality sector are coming.

Congress is still bickering over a Covid package so a lot more pain is in store for those who don't have a job or are about to lose one.


Comments (22)
No. 1-5

When that happens, will there be more eviction moratoriums or will the mortgage debt pile up be too big to handle?


I saw the CEO of Walmart is calling for more stimulus...Seems like everybody gets that it’s going to be necessary.....except for the congress.

I expect now it’s too late to prevent another big dip....I expect the dip will be what finally motivates the austerity lovers in the Senate to get off their butts and pass something. I hope it’s enough to matter.

If Yellen takes the Treasury Secretary job I guess we can expect some “coordination" between the Fed and the Treasury...not sure what that would look like....but Yellen also appears to be thinking the US economy needs much more stimulus...which is not surprising.

Lance Manly
Lance Manly

I am thinking negative GDP 4Q


Hello Mish, I just wanted to take them time to thank you for all of your hard work over the years in this (sometimes/often?) thankless undertaking of yours and for introducing me to many constructively critical analytical authors over the years. I don't read your work to look for agreement but for challenging and critical analysis and whether I agree or not I am always grateful for your dedication and thoughtful analysis.
Though I usually don't comment on personal matters in public forums I would like to make an exception if I may and congratulate you and your recent nuptials.
Best Regards....

Global Economics