Household Spending

Retail spending picking up in second quarter

Consumer spending on retail goods is picking up in the second quarter in the wake of a holiday and first quarter that turned out weaker than first thought—given revisions to retail sales as tracked by the government. This is the reading…


Retail spending in 2017 suddenly looks weak

The trend in retail spending suddenly looks much weaker through April—partly as a result of revisions to the government-reported retail data. December holiday results also were revised downward. Sales excluding autos and fuel are growing roughly between 2.5% and 3.5% in…


Positive signs for consumer spending?

Retail spending is showing some positive signs through February. The signs, however, depend on how you look at the latest government data. The signs are positive from a seasonally adjusted view of retail sales gains year-to-year. Those sales are up 4.3%…


Updated Holiday Results: Revised Down a Bit

Brick and mortar retail gains for the November-December holiday were about 2.4%–given topline sales gains that were revised down a bit to 3.9% and online gains that came in at an estimated 14.9%. The results were slightly higher than expected. The…


See-Saw Start to 2017 Retail Spending

Retail spending to start 2017 continues to see-saw between weak-to-modest growth. In January, sales improved slightly from a weak December, according to the latest government data. So far, the numbers do not suggest that a big jump in spending is in…


Initial Holiday Results: Stronger in Places

The 4% gain in holiday sales for November-December was stronger than expected and stronger than a year ago—by about half a percentage point on both counts. The better results occurred partly at brick and mortar stores—not just online. The in-store results,…


Strong November Retail Sales Hidden in Latest Results

Retail spending slowed in November, according to the latest government data. Or did it really? While the seasonally adjusted sales data suggest moderating growth, the unadjusted data suggest a strong November at the expense of a weak October—that consumers held back…