Holiday Retail Sales Are Off to a Disappointing Start
December 17, 2019
Christmas shopping has been restrained so far. Even though Black Friday numbers broke records, retail sales for the month came in far below economist predictions. Retail sales for the month were up just 0.2 percent last month, compared to the 0.5 percent increase that had been anticipated. More troubling, the “core” consumer sales, which exclude volatile categories like gas and food services, were up just 0.1 percent for the month.
While some economists are attributing the weak sales to a late Thanksgiving, others note that this may be another sign that GDP for the fourth quarter is slowing. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of GDP, is becoming even more important as manufacturing and business spending stalls.