FLASH Headline Alerts, State of the Economy

Retail Sales Pull Back in December; Gasoline Prices Blamed

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State of the Economy Update: Retail Sales

The Commerce Department reports that after a modest improvement in November, Retail Sales in the U.S. closed out 2015 with a decline of -0.1% in December.

The decline of -0.1% for the month was below the consensus estimate for an increase of +0.1% and last month’s revised reading of +0.4% (revised from +0.2%)..

Excluding the sale of autos (which can be quite volatile), sales also fell -0.1%. This was also below the consensus estimate of +0.3% and below last month’s revised reading of +0.3% (revised from +0.4%).

It should be noted that much of the weakness in sales activity during 2015 can be attributed to declining gasoline prices. For example, sales totals from gas stations, fell 1.1% in December following a 1.3% decline in November.

Why should you care? Retail sales account for approximately one-third of consumer spending, which represents better than two-thirds of GDP.


The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

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About the Author

David Moenning is the Chief Investment Officer at Sowell Management Services. Dave began his investment career in 1980 and has been an independent money manager since 1987. Thus, Dave has been live on the firing line and investing for a living for more than 29 years.