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Retail Numbers:  Breakdown by Category

The latest retail sales numbers showed a sixth consecutive month of contraction, the longest negative streak since the Commerce Department began releasing numbers in 1967. Prior to this recession, the record streak was 4 straight months in 1974. Sales fell 2.7% in December and November sales were revised downward to a drop of 2.1%. Excluding auto parts and dealers, sales were down 3.1% in December.

Here is a breakdown of where sales were falling as well as which categories actually saw increases. Worst hit was gasoline sales (note that these numbers do not distinguish for the drop in prices, of which gasoline prices have been falling rapidly). Healthcare was the only category that gained this past month.

Total monthly change in retail & food services sales = - 2.66%

  • Retail = - 2.7%
    • Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers = - 0.7%
    • Furniture and Home Furnishings = - 1.8%
    • Electronics and Appliances = - 1.0%
    • Building Materials, Garden Equipment & Supply = - 2.9%
    • Food & Beverage Stores = -1.4%
      • Grocery = -1.3%
      • Beer, Wine & Liquor = - 0.1%
    • Healthcare and Personal Care = + 0.4%
    • Gasoline Stations = -15.9%
    • Clothing and Accessories = - 2.5%
    • Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book & Music = -0.4%
    • General Merchandise = - 1.3%
  • Food Services = - 2.2%

With the worse than expected retail losses, the futures are pointing downward. In the pre-market, Citigroup , JP Morgan Chase , Alcoa , Bank of America , and Caterpillar were all down more than 3%.

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