RETAIL SALES CRUSH EXPECTATIONS — One Of The Biggest Fears For The Economy Just Went Away

Lulu Lemon shoppers with shopping bags

Photo: Flickr/lululemonathletica

This is big.One of the most anticipated numbers in a while has beat expectations.

February retail sales were the first month that we were going to see the full impact of the end of the payroll tax holiday, and there was a lot of concern that the consumer was going to be sapped.

Michael Block of Phoenix Partners has the summary:

Nice Retail Sales number.  Headline 1.1% vs. 0.5% consensus, ex Autos 1.0% vs. +0.5%, Control Group +0.4% vs. +0.2%.  Prior month revised higher.  What was strong?  Auto parts, Building Materials, Gas Stations, Miscellaneous, Non store retailers.  Weak – Electronics, Sporting Goods, Dept Stores, Restaurants.  This is a big boost for the U.S. centric growth story.  So much for earnings and comps already telling us what we need to know.

The full report is here. Here’s a key chart:

Screen Shot 2013 03 13 at 8.37.22 AM

Photo: BEA

It didn’t happen.

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