SCOREBOARD: Retail ruse

The retail spending data for November notionally suggests sales weakness, but that conclusion isn't justified.

Headline sales were at 0.0 per cent in November following a 0.2 per cent increase in October, to be 3.1 per cent higher annually. This was much weaker than my forecast for a gain of 0.5 per cent, and the market's for 0.4 per cent. By component, food and household good sales were flat, clothing and department stores fell, while other components were barely above zero (see below chart).
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Notionally this suggests weakness in retail sales, although regular readers will already know why we can’t draw this conclusion from the survey.

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