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Consumer Continue to Splurge, Retail Sales Up Another 1.7% in October

Consumer spending rose another 1.7% in October easily beating the consensus estimate of 1.0%.
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Advance Retail Sales Millions of Dollars 2021-10

The Commerce Department reports another surge in Retail Sales in October.

  •  Advance Estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $638.2 billion, an increase of 1.7 percent from the previous month, and 16.3 percent above October 2020. 
  • Total sales for the August 2021 through October 2021 period were up 15.4 percent from the same period a year ago. 
  • The August 2021 to September 2021 percent change was revised from up 0.7 percent to up 0.8 percent. 
  • Retail trade sales were up 1.9 percent from September 2021, and up 14.8 percent above last year. 
  • Gasoline stations were up 46.8 percent from October 2020
  • Food services and drinking places were up 29.3 percent from last year.  

Advance Retail Sales Month-Over-Month 

Advance Retail Sales Month-Over-Month 2021-10

The month-over-month charts don't provide as good a picture as total numbers. Let's hone in on the latter. 

Advance Retail Sales Detail 

Advance Retail Sales Detail 2021-10

The three pandemic cash infusions are clearly visible in the above chart, April-May 2020, January 2021, and March 2021.

Advance Retail Sales Major Categories 

Advance Retail Sales Major Categories 2021-10

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Every aspect of consumer spending is doing well. Were it not for chip shortages, motor vehicle sales would be doing even better.

Curious Headline

The WSJ has a curious headline "Retail Sales Rose by 1.7% in October Despite High Inflation"

Retail sales are not adjusted for inflation. Despite is not the correct word. If consumers bought the same basket of goods they would have paid more for the basket.

Surprise of the Day

Curiously, bond prices are flat on the day, not exactly what one might expect following a blistering report. 

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