Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The "Mallaise" (part two)

I made a post last month after visiting a local mall during the peak of the holiday season and finding far fewer shoppers and far bigger discounting than normal. In it, I wrote "So no matter what you're hearing about retail sales, my guess, at least anecdotally, is that the final numbers will be worse."

Today, retail numbers for December were announced:
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Stung by weak demand and falling prices, U.S. retail sales plunged a seasonally adjusted 2.7% in December from November, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday.

...December's decline in total sales was much worse than the 1.5% month-to-month drop that economists surveyed by MarketWatch had anticipated. They also had been looking for sales excluding autos to drop 1.6%.

...Retail sales last month were down a record 9.8% compared with December 2007, the Commerce Department's data showed. Sales excluding autos fell a record 6.7% in the past year.

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