Retail sales up slightly

Today’s report indicates that advance monthly retail sales in June 2009 increased 0.6% from May but declined 9.0% from June 2008, to $342.1 billion. Excluding autos, June retail sales rose 0.3% from the prior month but declined 7.9% from the prior year.

Some might consider this a dead cat bounce given that the increase was almost entirely due to the combination of a 2.3% rebound in motor vehicle sales and a 5.0% price-related surge in sales at gasoline stations.

“On the whole, this was a decidedly mixed report as the better than expected print on the headline number masks the weak underbelly of core consumer spending, which continues to decline” as one commentator puts it.

Looking at the quarterly retail sales trend shows that retail sales have risen 3.5% over the last three months versus a 9.0% decline over the last year.

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