• The U.S. Census Bureau {LINK} reports the March retail sales data {pdf LINK} showing a contraction in sales overall (excluding gasoline) and a massive contraction in on-line sales.  As we expected, we are seeing the continued demand side contraction for non-essential purchases.
  • The top-line for March retail sales is 0.5% growth; however, the rate of inflation is 8.5%, so the amount of goods sold is substantially less than the 0.5% dollar increase would indicate.  Subtract the sales of gasoline (w/ massive price increases), and retail sales are negative (-0.3%) in March.  SEE TABLE-2

A good category to note the contraction in non-essential purchases is electronics and appliances.  Again, CORE inflation in that segment is around 6%, and yet total sales were only 3.3% higher, meaning less actual units sold.  Compared to 2021, electronics and appliance sales dropped 9.7%.

Showing how much people are pinched, gasoline prices are around 60% higher than this time last year, yet gas station sales only increased by 8.9%.  This means people are buying a lot less fuel at much higher prices.  People have shifted their transportation habits because gas costs so much.

Source: theconservativetreehouse.com