Monday, November 15, 2010

Gasoline Sales Lead Retail Sales Numbers

The Census Bureau is reporting that retail sales in October 2010 were $373.1 billion, an increase of 1.2 percent from September and an increase of 7.3 percent from October 2009.  Excluding autos, retail sales were $306.1 billion, up 0.4 percent from last month and up 6.0 percent from last year.

The most interesting piece of information in the data may be the year-to-date climb in gasoline station sales. Those sales are up 17.2%. That's not because consumers have decided to increase their driving by 17%, it's because gasoline prices are soaring.

The closest "growth" area YTD after gasoline stations is nonstore retail (aka, the internet). Those sales are up 12.7% (which is also probably indicative that consumer driving may be down, since you don't burn a lot of gasoline surfing the internet.)

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