The Fed came out with its numbers yesterday, and it turns out that holiday retail sales in December were disappointing, falling 0.3% from November. But the good news is that they rose 5.4% from December 2008.
Hit the hardest were businesses termed as “electronics and appliance” stores, which fell 2.6% month over month, while “general merchandise stores” decreased 0.8%. Apparel dropped 0.6%.
On a brighter note, “sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores” rose 1.6%, and “furniture and home furnishings stores” inched up 0.3%. Department stores were flat.
As this Washington Post article notes, in its December report, the Commerce Department revised November’s increase over October from 1.3% to 1.8%, so that contributed to last month’s lag.
In summary, it looks like sales were better from last year, but still far from “good.” Are we seeing a slow recovery, no recovery, or are these figures not very good indicators of what’s really happening in the industry?