2012 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 1/12/2012 8:30:00 AM For Dec, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change0.2 %0.4 %-0.2 % to 0.9 %0.1 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.2 %0.3 %0.4 %-0.2 % to 1.0 %-0.2 %
Retails Sales - $ level399.349 $ billions
Retails Sales less auto - $ level329.172 $ billions
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change0.2 %0.2 %0.4 %0.1 % to 0.6 %0.0 %

December retail sales advanced but less than expected but part of the slowing was due to upward revisions to November and October. Retail sales in December edged up 0.1 percent, following a 0.4 percent rise in November (originally up 0.2 percent) and 0.7 percent gain in October (previously up 0.6 percent). The December figure came in lower than the consensus forecast for 0.4 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales actually fell 0.2 percent in December after increasing 0.3 percent in November (originally up 0.2 percent) and increasing 0.5 percent in October (previously up 0.6 percent). The market median forecast was 0.4 percent. Gasoline sales dropped 1.6 percent after a 0.9 percent increase in November.

Sales excluding autos and gasoline in December were flat, following a modest 0.2 percent increase in November (originally up 0.2 percent). Econoday's survey panel now includes a consensus for this series which was 0.4 percent for December. Within the core (excluding autos and gasoline), gains were led by building materials, clothing, and food services & drinking places. Weakness was led by a drop in electronics & appliance stores.

Retail sales on a year-ago basis in December posted at up 6.5 percent, compared to 7.0 percent in November. Excluding motor vehicles, sales were up 6.0 percent on a year-on-year basis, compared to 6.8 percent the prior month.

Today's report is disappointing but hardly a disaster. Consumers are still spending and front loaded a bit in November. But some subsectors apparently did a bit of price discounting (likely electronics among others) and we may see that in quarterly earnings.

On the news, equity futures dipped somewhat as initial jobless claims also were a little higher than expected.

Consensus Outlook
Retail sales in November grew 0.2 percent, following a 0.6 percent boost in October and a 1.3 percent spike in September. Excluding autos, retail sales gained 0.2 percent in November after increasing 0.6 percent in October and increasing 0.6 percent in September. Gasoline sales declined marginally in November. Sales excluding autos and gasoline in November rose 0.2 percent, following a healthy 0.7 percent increase in October. Within the core (excluding autos and gasoline), gains were mixed but mostly positive. Looking ahead, unit new motor vehicle sales were unchanged in December, suggesting a sluggish auto component in retail sales for the month. However, price effects and the shares allocated between consumers and businesses can affect the strength of autos in retail sales.

Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. Sales are by retail and food services stores. Data are collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Essentially, retail sales cover the durables and nondurables portions of consumer spending. Consumer spending typically accounts for about two-thirds of GDP and is therefore a key element in economic growth.  Why Investors Care
Nearly 75 percent of the time, changes in monthly retail sales are between +1 percent and -1 percent. However, there are many months in which the monthly change falls outside that range. Most of the time, excessive increases or decreases are due to higher/lower spending on motor vehicle sales. Year-over-year changes in retail sales can be volatile as well, but tend to be smoother than monthly changes.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/122/143/134/165/156/137/168/149/1410/1511/1412/13
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