–Ex Autos -0.1%, ExAuto/Gas +0.1%; Autos -2.3%,BldgMat -1.0%,Gas -2.0%

By Joseph Plocek

WASHINGTON (MNI) – The U.S. June retail sales report was weak, with
the overall reading of -0.5% marking a second month of decline and
signaling the consumer is pulling back as the economy fails to generate
robust job and wage gains.

June retail sales included ex-auto sales at -0.1%, and ex auto and
gas at +0.1%. The data were a little worse than expected even accounting
for a slight up-revision to May (now -1.1% overall, up a tenth). April
sales were lowered 0.3 point.

This suggests slowing consumption. The two-month sales drop was the
first since February-March 2009, when the economy was probably still in
recession – not a good omen.

Sales drops were widespread, and included -2.3% in autos, -1.1% in
furniture, -1% in building materials, -0.5% in food, -2% in gas
stations, and -1.4% in sporting goods.

Some areas gained: electronics +1.3%, health +0.5%, clothing +0.6%,
restaurants +0.2%, and mail and Internet orders +1.0%, though there is
no pattern here.

May’s sales decline was due to seasonal adjustment, but June’s was
due to the unadjusted sales pace slowing. This is another signal that
the consumer is pulling back.

Real personal consumption is probably running well under the +3.0%
SAAR pace of Q1, and possibly is on a downward trajectory. A core
measure of sales that excludes autos and building supplies was down in
both May and June, and only some of the dip in gasoline sales over these
two months appears to be price-related.

**Market News International Washington Bureau: (202)371-2121**