Retail Reality: Ignore the Media, Read the Raw Numbers

By John Galt

October 14, 2009

Did ya hear the good news?

Retail sales were much better than anticipated. Of course the fact that the prior month was revised downward by 0.5% was missed by most as the MariaBartiromogasms over Dow 10,000 blotted out anything that almost anyone had to say about oh, uh, reality, ya, you know, what is really going on. Thus I present the raw data from the past month’s  report so exalted by the almighty Bubblemedia this morning:


Needless comments at this point time from those who proclaim that we’re in recovery are not necessary for this entry. If you start reading the raw data instead of the politically adjusted (aka “seasonally adjusted”) you begin to notice a trend:  This economy is still in the crapper.

When you combine the retail sales data with the rail traffic reports from the latest reporting week (Oct 3, Railfax):

it really isn’t rocket science to figure out that our statistical recovery is not even close to what the media makes it out to be. The numbers might impress but the pain is being felt across almost every industry and there are few signs of any real expansion or economic growth on Main Street. On the good news side of things, at least we don’t have to listen to those evil bears on Bubblevisions One, Two, or Three. After all, the bears never said this would happen the way it did.

Or did they?

Back in 1999…….



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4 responses to “Retail Reality: Ignore the Media, Read the Raw Numbers

  1. Chris

    Timewave Zero and October 26, 2009

    Is this tied to your 80 days?

  2. koios


    I assume these figures are not adjusted for the “official” CPI, much less the SGS CPI.

    One thing that will skew the total figure is the fluctuation in retail gasoline prices. After 33 years in the business as both a marketer & consultant, this can be assuaged to make it look better or worse.

    • Administrator

      Correct. This is the pure raw data collected by the Department of Commerce via the Census Department so there is no hocus-pocus from BLS.

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