On Thursday, a slew of retailers posted monthly same-store sales. They were described best as a “mixed bag.” There was no obvious trend in terms of up or down, even within specific categories of retailers. But bulls on the economy should be disappointed.
For one thing, notes Mike “MISH” Shedlock author of Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, the same-store sales gainers benefited by the general reduction in store locations. Essentially, survivorship bias is skewing the numbers. If somehow you could take into account all the locations that had been shuttered, you’d see that things were much worse.
And there’s evidence for this, notes Mish. State sales tax collections remain depressed, with no indication of a rebound. That, more than the corporate numbers, is the key thing to pay attention to.
And with states thirsting for cash, this is a crucial problem that will play out in terms of further budget cuts, and a further drag on the economy.
Ultimately it’s all about jobs. Without a jobs recovery, there will be no consumer recovery, and without a consumer recovery, there’s little reason to be excited about the market or the economy.
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