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Retail Sales in November Unexpectedly Slow, Well Under the Rate of Inflation

The advance estimate of retail sales slowed to a 0.3 percent gain in November, well under the rate of inflation up 0.8 percent for the month.
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Advance Retail Sales Month-Over-Month 2021-11

Advance Sales Details 

  • Advance Estimates of retail and food services sales for November 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $639.8 billion.
  • Sales rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, and 18.2 percent above November 2020. 
  • Total sales for the September 2021 through November 2021 period were up 16.2 percent from the same period a year ago. 
  • The September 2021 to October 2021 percent change was revised from up 1.7 percent to up 1.8 percent. 
  • Retail trade sales were up 0.2 percent from October 2021, and up 16.1 percent above last year. 
  • Gasoline stations were up 52.3 percent from November 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 37.4 percent from last year.  

Econoday Consensus Estimates

  • Overall: 0.8% Expected vs 0.3% Actual
  • Excluding Vehicles: 0.9% Expected vs 0.3% Actual
  • Excluding Vehicles and Gas: 0.8% expected vs 0.2% Actual

Real Sales Decline

Real sales (subtracting the rate of inflation) fell 0.5% in November. 

Economists expected sales would keep up with inflation. Instead, consumers threw in the towel. 

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Not even Amazon is doing well judging by flat non-store sales.

Have the stimulus checks finally run out or are consumers suddenly balking at prices?

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