Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014's January Retail Sales Report Autopsy (Musical Tribute)

The following chart shows the retail sales at food services and drinking places divided by the sales at food and beverage stores.

Click to enlarge.

Our service economy apparently requires us to grow the amount we spend at restaurants compared to the amount we spend at food and beverage stores. Put another way, our service economy requires ever increasing amounts of service lest we slip into recession.

I know what you may be thinking. It was very cold. People stayed home. Okay, let's go with that and try a thought experiment. I shall be your consumption guinea pig. Buckle in. It's going to be an laboratory adventure!

I'm sitting at home. The weather is too awful to leave the house. I'm a consumer, and man have I got some pent-up consumption demand. I'm sipping my hot chocolate. I'm looking over at my computer. I take a few more sips. I look at my computer again. I take another sip. I see a smart phone on the coffee table. I drink the last sip from a now empty mug. Empty! Bah! Say it isn't so! I can't stand it! I'm going to make a purchase and have it delivered to me! Snow be damned! It's the only way to end the agony!

The following chart shows the annual growth in nonstore retail sales. We should definitely see the cold weather surge in all its glory! It must be there!

Click to enlarge.

Hmmm. There's a Christmas surge within a declining trend channel and a hangover to go with it. That's not quite what we were looking for with our optimistic cold weather theory. Oh, well. Can't say we didn't try!

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart #1
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart #2

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