Holiday cheer seems to be sales jeers

The latest retail sales figures coming out say there was a 4.9% increase from 2015 levels.

Total sales are estimated to come in $637 billion, according to retail research firm Customer Growth Partners reported.

I think that number is way too high, but it plays out the narrative of “Trumpeuphoria” revitalizing the economy and increased consumer confidence.

If you follow the ploys used by government statistic releases, then you put out big numbers as an estimate, which makes the news, then walk it back with revisions that are not carried in the news.

This holiday shopping season differed from most since the Jewish holiday of Chanukah did not provide a lead-in to Christmas sales since the holidays align this year.

This lack of early buying caused margins to be squeezed as retailers cut prices leading into the last week or so before the holidays.

Online sales appeared to have a very good year with an early projection of 15% growth year-over-year, yet web sales still only account for roughly 10% of overall sales.

With the Trump Bump in sentiment put aside, the consumer has not had much to cheer since the election. This month’s rate hike has pinched their credit without the benefit of any movement for interest on savings. Also the consumer’s market participation is negligent and has little trickle-down benefits.

I believe in January the actual retail numbers will bear this out. Remember, many large retailers closed stores in Nov. and Dec. figuring it would cost more to keep them open for a couple of weeks than the revenue it would generate.

Go figure, since this is the time when retail makes its profit for the year. Hence the term Black Friday, which means the point when a store chain moves into the black or profit.

So let’s see how long the holiday cheer lasts.