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US retail sales February 2010


Overall retail sales (unadjusted) following the Christmas season are similar to 2009 although a tad higher. The 12-month average, however, clearly shows that the economic recession has bottomed-out and is getting back on track. After seeing an extended period of negative 12-moth average sales change (October 2008 to September 2009), this indicator is moving rapidly upward. If this continues, it will hasten recovery in other parts of the world. Looking at 12-month average change in the automotive category, we see that fuel dealers are soaring upward and measure 3.5%, gasoline stations 2.0%, new car dealers 1.1%; a good sign for the automotive industry which was hit severely following the economic downturn. Similar trends are seen in electronics, clothing, furniture and building materials. Go to database.

Adjusted retail sales levels show the same shift toward retail recovery. Overall retail sales show a 12-month average change rate of 0.4% with fuel dealers measuring 1.5% and gasoline stations 1.9%. Data for new car dealers is unavailable; automotive total measures 0.6%. Electronic appliances still loom in the  negative at -0.3 but appear to be improving. Adjusted levels bring clothing into the red after breaking 0.0% in December, whereas furniture and building materials remain in the negative where it has been since December 2007. Recovery is expected around mid-summer. Go to database.

The sales to inventory rate measures 65.8% for overall retail unadjusted and 73.3% adjusted. Inventory is piling up a bit in the furniture, clothing and department store categories. Go to database.

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