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From the Census:
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for July, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $342.3 billion, a decrease of 0.1 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 8.3 percent (±0.7%) below July 2008. Total sales for the May through July 2009 period were down 9.0 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The May to June 2009 percent change was revised from +0.6 percent (±0.5%) to +0.8 percent (±0.2%).
Retail trade sales were down 0.1 percent (±0.7%)* from June 2009 and 9.4 percent (±0.7%) below last year. Gasoline stations sales were down 32.5 percent (±1.5%) from July 2008 and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were down 14.7 percent (±2.0%) from last year.
I have no idea why this number seems to be generating so much buzz. Retail sales dropped .1%. If you look at the chart you'll notice two things:
1.) In the last 7 months we've had 4 increases and three decreases. Two of those decreases have been small.
2.) The year over year number still shows a bottoming trend in place.
While no one likes a decline, this one is small. And the fact that it missed analysts projections falls under the "I don't care" category.