US Recession Going Retail

The bulls were doing cartwheels after January retail sales were released. The consumer is back, they said, after a weak holiday season. Now, not so much. February retail sales were released today and the news is not good.

First, the February data included a revision to the January numbers, a BIG downward revision, from +0.2% to -0.4% month-over-month. February data was also down a further -0.1%. Here are the numbers:

 

Released On 3/15/2016 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2016

Prior Prior Revised Consensus Consensus Range Actual
Retail Sales – M/M change 0.2 % -0.4 % -0.1 % -0.6 % to 0.4 % -0.1 %
Retail Sales less autos – M/M change 0.1 % -0.4 % -0.2 % -0.6 % to 0.5 % -0.1 %
Less Autos & Gas – M/M Change 0.4 % -0.1 % 0.3 % 0.1 % to 0.6 % 0.3 %

 

This chart tells you why retail stocks have recently led to the downside. Lately, they have recovered somewhat. Time to sell them again?These are historically recessionary numbers suggesting that markdowns in first quarter GDP growth are on the way.

Retail Sales