Posts filed under “Retail”

Economic Cheat Sheet: Using Retail Sales to Forecast GDP & NFP

Of all the various economic indicators and data points out there, is there one that has any special ability to forecast future economic activity?

Or defined more broadly, what gives the best insight into future GDP ?

That is the question Dave Livingston of Llinlithgow Associates (he blogs at BizzXceleration) was considering perusing when he noticed one metric in particular stood out: Retail Sales.

So Dave did what any good econo-geek would do — he a regression analysis between YoY changes in retail sales and other key indicators.  (See composite chart of Retail Sales, with
his Cheat Sheet table, below).

Dave acknowledges this “cuts some corners, but it might serve a useful quicklook purpose.” How? Every time there’s a new sales report you can guestimate GDP, Employment, Consumption, Investment changes.

It also operates on another level as a brutal reality check — look at what GDP growth rates are required to get Unemployment down from these levels.

Dave adds that despite all the caveats to this, the table below is a great thing to have in your wallet the next Wonk Dinner Party you attend — just whip it out and read off the economic outlook based on the latest headline!


click for larger graph

Category: Economy, Retail

Is Patrick Byrne America’s Nastiest Dumbest CEO?

Our story so far: Back on December 9th, my young niece informed me (via Facebook) that she had discovered her name publicly posted on a DeepCapture website. That was the first discovery of the “Facebook Friends scraping” operation. My assumption was that the asshats at DeepCapture had exploited a Facebook security lapse, and grabbed all…Read More

Category: Legal, Really, really bad calls, Retail

Last Minute Shopping Ideas

The response to Sundays snowbound shopping list was (surprisingly) encouraging; Many of of you commented or emailed with even more gift ideas; Quite a few of you made specific suggestions in comments. A few of you even asked for more ideas. In the spirit of (last minute) gift giving, consider this list — many of…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Music, Retail

Do Appliance Sales Signal the Start of Housing Uptick?

Its funny how two people can look at the same data point and draw opposite conclusions. That’s what makes a horse race. Sometimes, an inherent bias or wishful thinking comes into play; other times, its partisan ideology getting in the way. And in some instances, a little bit of common sense goes a long way….Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Retail

Snowbound Shopping

Fun and tiring day. We dug out early in the morning, then took the beasts for a romp in the snow. The puppy — now almost 1 — never saw a foot of snow before. (loved it!) We left the house about 11:30 for Dim Sum brunch. The roads were all plowed, but mostly empty….Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail, Web/Tech

Last Minute Shopping List !

Back home from Florida — its a 60 degree temperature swing from Fort Lauderdale to NYC — and I suddenly realize that I have some shopping to do. I assume many of you are also behind on this most wasteful holiday of consumer spending frenzy. Here are a few items that are on my list…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail

The King Report: No, Retail Sales Did Not Improve in November

> ~~~ How can US beancounters report twice the expected retail sales when all private data and state tax data shows that November had tepid if not soft retail sales – even with the easy y/y comparisons? FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009, AT 8:30 A.M. EST ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Retail, Think Tank


Whatever little patience I had with Patrick Byrne, and his overzealous friends at, has now become officially exhausted. As I noted last week ( Scraping Facebook Friends), this group found the Facebook friends and relatives of any journalist, critic, fund manager or blogger who dared to  criticize Overstock (or Deep Capture), and then published…Read More

Category: Financial Press, Retail, Short Selling, Web/Tech

Strong Retail Sales in November

Nice chart via Econompic >

Category: Retail, Think Tank

Lucky Shopping Error

I mentioned the other night that I dawdled and missed out on making some cheap purchases at Amazon — the complete Curb Your Enthusiasm: Seasons 1-6:  and Dilbert 2.0: 20 Years of Dilbert. I had put it into my shopping cart, then promptly forgot about it. The next day, the prices had more than doubled…Read More

Category: Retail