Headline: 0.6% month-over-month increase, 0.5% without autos
Consensus: 0.8% month-over-month increase, 0.7% without autos
Analysis: The weaker than expected number may dent the 2011 thesis that consumer spending is going to power the economy through the year. It may also indicate that the deleveraging process for the U.S. consumer is still ongoing, and that, along with weak employment growth, is keeping spending low.
Preview: A lot riding on the consumer led recovery meme in these December numbers. The snow events across the country are likely to be mentioned as an excuse, if numbers come in too low. Last month, retail sales came in way better than expected, at 1.2% month-over-month growth excluding autos.
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