Retail Sales Slump in September
Retail sales in September suffered their largest decline since December 2008, thanks to the Cash for Clunkers hangover.
Retail sales dropped 1.5 percent in September compared with August, the Commerce Department said this morning.
However, if you remove vehicle sales from the numbers, retail sales actually went up 0.5 percent last month. If you remove vehicle sales and gasoline purchases, sales went up 0.4 percent.
Retail sales were helped by back-to-school shopping during the Labor Day weekend, which fell in September this year.
Now, everyone is holding their collective breath for the holiday season. Last month, retailers said their expected a 1 percent rise in holiday retail spending this year compared with last year.
In other news out this morning, September import prices rose 0.1 percent and export prices dropped 0.3 percent, thanks to the declining strength of the dollar: Exports cost more for us to buy and our products are cheaper to buy abroad as the value of the dollar goes down.
Year-over-year, import prices were down 12 percent in September and export prices were down 5.6 percent.
The dollar is near a 14-month low, as foreign countries worry about its devaluation because the Fed printed so many new dollars during the bank meltdown last year to prevent a liquidity crisis.
We'll keep an eye on stocks when the markets open to see how they are affected by the retail sales numbers.
-- Frank Ahrens
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October 14, 2009; 9:07 AM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: export prices, import prices, retail sales
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