The May Advance Retail Sales report shows May retail and food services sales down 0.5%, but +6.4% (+7.1% ex autos) from a year ago. The numbers, in current dollars, were inflated by the 16.2% increase in gas stations sales over the last year, most of it price.
Within the total, auto dealer sales were down 1.6% in May, but 2.7% higher than a year ago. Can’t wait to see what next month’s number will look like now that GM has reduced their prices to zero. Also of interest: the category referred to as Nonstore Retailers (EBay and Amazon) out-grew the guys with real buildings by more than two to one. Guess the Internet is still alive and well and depressing margins.
Translation: More soft prices coming. Don’t bet on rising interest rates.