Headline Retail Sales Decline In November 2020

Retail sales modestly declined according to US Census headline data. The three-month rolling average improved. Year-over-Year growth remains in positive territory

Analyst Opinion of Retail Sales

Retail sales have fully recovered their pre-virus levels overall. However, there is still year-over-year weakness in restaurants, department stores, clothing stores and gas stations.

There was a downward adjustment to last month's data. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which modestly improved. Overall, this report is considered weaker than last month.

Please consider that this data is not adjusted for inflation.

Econintersect Analysis:

  • the unadjusted sales rate of growth decelerated 3.3 % month-over-month, and up 2.5 % year-over-year.
  • unadjusted sales 3-month rolling year-over-year average growth accelerated 0.5 % month-over-month, up 5.4 % year-over-year.

  • unadjusted sales (but inflation-adjusted) up 1.7 % year-over-year
  • this is an advance report. Please see the caveats section below which shows variations between the advance report and the "final".
  • in the seasonally adjusted data - the weaknesses were widespread.

U.S. Census Headline Analysis:

  • seasonally adjusted sales down 1.1 % month-over-month, up 4.1 % year-over-year (published up 5.7 % YoY last month).
  • the market was expecting (from Econoday):
seasonally adjusted Consensus Range Consensus Actual
Retail Sales - M/M change -0.8 % to 0.2 % -0.3 % -1.1 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change -0.5 % to 0.4 % 0.1 % -0.9 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change -0.5 % to 0.3 % 0.2 % -0.8 %
Control Group - M/M change -0.3 % to 0.5 % 0.2 % -0.5 %

Year-over-Year Change - Unadjusted Retail Sales (blue line) and Inflation-Adjusted Retail Sales (red line)

Retail sales per capita is back to pre-pandemic levels - see graph below.

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