Retail follow up

Prior to Thanksgiving, I made my holiday shopping forecast

"I am looking for a gain in
holiday sales (year over year) that are 2.5 – 3.5% over 2005. This is
comparable (only slightly softer) than last year’s holiday gains. Last
year, our forecast was for 3-4%, and the final number was 3.5%."

While these numbers may be revised further, the initial tally is now in:  Holiday sales increased 3%, dead center of our range. Not only is this a decrease from 2005, but note that it is reported in nominal (pre-inflation) terms. With inflation about 3%, this means that Real sales (after-inflation) were flat year over year.

Here’s the recent headlines:

WSJ: A Luckluster Last Weekend

NYT: Rush  at End, but Sales Fall Short

Bloomberg:  U.S. Holiday Sales Increase 3%, Less Than in 2005

Weekend  Sales Fall Below Projections;

Business Week: Retail  Results Signal Tough Times Ahead

CNN: Last-minute  shopping surge comes up short;

AP:  Shoppers dash retailers’ hopes.

As we warned in Canary in a Coal Mine,
the consumer has begun to show clear signs of tiring. They are not
ready to roll over and stop shopping, but they will very likely be
reducing their consumption in the near future.

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