Holiday Shopping Off to Weak Start


Retail sales numbers from the Commerce Department were much weaker than economists expected.

The holiday shopping season is off to a slow start as judged by the Advance Retail Sales numbers from the Commerce Department.

Even factoring in September upward revision, the Econoday Consensus Forecast was well short of the mark.

The Wall Street Journal reports Holiday Retail Sales Had a Lackluster November Start.

Consumers held back on purchases of discretionary items ranging from clothes to electronics in November. Retail sales excluding cars and gasoline were unchanged from the previous month, the Commerce Department said Friday. When those volatile categories are included, sales rose 0.2%, seasonally adjusted.

The Commerce Department said sales in November declined sharply across categories that are closely tied with holiday gift-giving, including clothing, electronics, department and sporting goods stores. Spending at bars and restaurants also dropped 0.3% last month, the steepest monthly decline since last December.

Retail sales account for about a quarter of consumer spending. Friday’s Commerce report doesn’t track spending on most services, such as health care and housing, and the figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.

Seasonal Adjustments

This could just be a seasonal adjustment factor given the fact that Thanksgiving fell on November 28, the last possible date.

Then again, Household Debt Climbs to Record High, Delinquencies Rise

Rising credit card delinquencies and subprime auto stress are other signs of caution.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (11)
No. 1-7

Looked around my house, pondered my life, saw what I have and realized that there is simply nothing more than I need right now. We have enough of everything and mostly would need to replace things that have broken down. If you want me to buy something, make it a damn good can't miss price.


I think it's mostly because people are just saturated with too much debt already. You can't squeeze water from a dry rock.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

"The holiday shopping season is off to a slow start"


As I mentioned earlier, The Sound of Silence from the media Black Friday weekend told me all I needed to know re how sales going.



Could it be most Americans have plenty of crap already? And they sure don't need any more Chinese crap?


Thanksgiving revenue rose 17% YOY in the US and 24% globally

68% of consumers say they pay more attention to retail email during the holiday shopping season

Black Friday shoppers spent 14% more online and 6% less in store YOY

78% of online retailers offered Free Shipping on Black Friday

Mobile shoppers spent 46% more on Cyber Monday than last year

AI-driven recommendations lift orders by 9% and items per order by 12%



We are tapped out. And, courtesy of the parents that give their kids everything, many of the kids who's parents do not do that, are wanting crap that's just too expensive. That whole gotta be like everyone else crushes working middle class. My own kids(middle school aged) want things that are, at a minimum, $300 and up. I told them hell no. Think a little less expensive and we'll talk. Between a mortgage, a student loan, orthodontics for said MS kid, and the ever soul crushing medical bills (even for little things going off-- It still adds up to alot of $$), there is little left for frivolous spending. I'm certainly not feeling any spirit of Christmas this year and many more like me are screaming bah humbug, this s**t's too expensive now.

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