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Despite reports of SUVs piling up on dealer lots, the Census Bureau's Advance Monthly Retail Sales report shows autos are leading the way.

Key Spending Items

  • Motor vehicles and parts sales rose a whopping 1.8% in August for an overall retail sales gain of 0.4%
  • Motor vehicles and parts dealers were up 6.8 percent from last year.
  • Excluding Autos, sales were flat.
  • Total sales for the June 2019 through August 2019 period were up 3.7 percent from the same period a year ago. The June 2019 to July 2019 percent change was revised from up 0.7 percent to up 0.8 percent.
  • Retail trade sales were up 0.6 percent from June 2019, and 4.6 percent above last year.
  • General merchandise sales fell 0.3% for the month but rose 1.% from a year ago.
  • Department stores continue to struggle. Sales fell 1.1% for the month and are down 5.4% from a year ago.
  • Nonstore retailers were up 1.6% for the month and 16.0 percent from year ago.

These strong auto numbers conflict with reported flatline sales from the manufacturers and reports of SUVs (not just sedans) piling up on dealer lots.

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Something seems amiss.

Revisions coming?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock