Shoppers Pull the Plug on Spending at the Start of the Holiday Season

Mish

Retail sales badly missed expectations in November as Covid impacted spending.

Advance Retail Sales Unexpectedly Decline 1.1% 

The Commerce Department Advance Retail Sales Report shows a 1.1%. decline in November vs an Econoday consensus estimate of -0.3%.

Commerce Details

  • Advance Estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $546.5 billion, a decrease of 1.1 percent  from the previous month, but 4.1 percent above November 2019. 
  • Total sales for the September 2020 through November 2020 period were up 5.2 percent from the same period a year ago. 
  • The September 2020 to October 2020 percent change was revised from up 0.3 percent to down 0.1 percent. 
  • Retail trade sales were down 0.8 percent from October 2020, but 7.1 percent above last year. 
  • Nonstore retailers were up 29.2 percent  from November 2019, while food services and drinking places were down 17.2 percent from last year.

Worse Than it Looks

The decline is even worse than it looks because the Commerce Department revised October from +0.3% to -0.1%.

Advance Retail Sales Detail

advance retail sales total detail 2020-11

Total spending nearly recovered by June. Select categories better reflect the winners and losers.

Advance Retail Sales Select Categories 

Advance Retail Sales Select Categories 2020-11

Advance Retail Sales Select Categories Detail 

Advance Retail Sales Select Categories Detail 2020-11

It's easy to spot the winners and losers. 

Food services and drinking places, gas stations, and department stores did not recover.

Those with a job and those with assets fueled a big recovery in motor vehicles and parts. 

These stats bode ill for department stores dependent on holiday shopping.

Mish 

Comments (29)
No. 1-10
Bam_Man
Bam_Man

Must...have...MOAR...Stimulus.

Mandelabra
Mandelabra

Total paralysis, they'll be more lockdowns. Wonder if they'll be a big stock dip as people clear out their 401(k)s for cash before the CARES penalty waiver expires.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

Congress should have passed a relief package 3 months ago. The current one is too small and too late to save Christmas for the retailers..

It certainly looks to me like it will get worse before it gets much better.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see another round of stimulus before summer. We are a long way from getting through this crisis. jmho.

njbr
njbr

Gosh, whooodathunkit that sales would crash at the end of the stimulus?

Johnson1
Johnson1

XLY (Consumer Discretionary ETF) FWIW

Johnson1
Johnson1

I noticed online retail stocks had been trending down for a few months but now look like they may reverse. They started trending down on vaccine announcements but I think they reversing on stimulus announcements.

ohno
ohno

Massive economic V recovery. Put your shades on the futures so bright it will blind you.

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

I am not sure.
We purchased a $7000 TV + sound system from a local AV installer.
Do you think our purchase from this tiny business was measured?
Nope.

truthseeker
truthseeker

Once again my inoffensive comments deleted it’s ok Mish I guess I’ll just have to continue to keep fighting for truth.


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