Dr. Pangloss Reviews Retail Data With Joy

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You would have to be named Dr. Pangloss to find good news this morning on the retail sector, but in that fashion there might be a little reprieve from the degree of the onslaught of bad news.  Retail sales came out this morning for November, and they were not as bad as expected.

November retail and food sales came in at -1.8% on a headline basis,and that compared with estimates of around -2.2%.  On anex-Autos basis, that number was -1.6% rather than the -1.8% consensusestimate.  October’s numbers were revised slightly worse to -2.9% from -2.8% previously reported.

What is interesting is that many retailers saw gains last month fromsporting goods to food and beverage, to general merchandise, to healthand personal care, to clothing, to even furniture.  What is not reallyoutlined here is that the sales are still going to "heavily discounteditems" and large sales rather than across the board.

Either way, Dr. Pangloss would tell you this is good news on a day when almost no other good news can be found.

Jon C. Ogg
December 12, 2008