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February 12th, 2009

Retail Sales Up, But Analyst Caution



Retail sales posted their first gain in seven months, increasing 1% in January. The unexpected gain far exceeded analysts’ predictions of a decline of 0.8%.

While on the surface the news sounds encouraging, market observers are cautioning everyone not to get their hopes up just yet. On a yearly basis, retail sales remain in the tank — down 9.7% from January 2008.

So why such a significant increase? Some say the only explanation is “post-holiday discounts.”

January’s numbers have come as such a surprise to analysts because the first two months of the year are usually some of the weakest for retailers nationwide.

The good news: Gains were widespread across various segments of the retail industry. According to the Commerce Department, electronic and appliance stores, motor vehicle and parts dealers, food and beverage stores, clothing and accessory stores, gas stations, and general merchandise stores all posted positive gains in January.

If passed, will the president’s stimulus package give you the confidence to spend more, or will you continue to shop consciously?

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2 Responses to “Retail Sales Up, But Analyst Caution”

  1. Rebecca Wilder Says: February 12th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Who wouldn’t be cautious with trade figures like what we saw yesterday. It’s nasty out there!


  2. Tim Manni Says: February 12th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hey Rebecca,

    A glimmer of hope is unfortunately only that: a glimmer. It’s easy to get excited about anything positive these days. Yet, give it a second look though and you’ll realize that it’s most likely a fading feeling.

    Good to hear from you,

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Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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