The Phaserl


The Big Retail Sales Lie

by Dave Kranzler, Investment Research Dynamics:

There’s a direct correlation between the scale and quantity of lies coming from Hillary Clinton and the Government. Why? It’s election season, of course. It’s easy enough to dismiss Hillary’s plea for debate viewers to go to her campaign website to see “fact” checking. We know how easy it is for her to hide the truth when she has assistance from the State Department, FBI and Obama. If you believe Hillary Clinton, you also believe in the Easter Bunny.

But it’s also easy to fact check the Census Bureau’s retail sales reports. Now, it’s easy enough to believe that the Government would manipulate the statistics in order to help the incumbent party maintain control the White House. But it’s also easy to fact-check the Census Bureau’s tabulations for monthly retail sales, notwithstanding the fact that the Census Bureau is caught producing fraudulent statistics on a regular basis.

Today, for instance, they released their “advance estimate” for retail sales for September. The Census Bureau would have us believe that retail sales increased .6% from August to September. But this was based on the Government’s politically expedient “seasonally adjusted” calculation.

Simple math disproves the validity of the “adjustments.” The report shows “not adjusted” total retail sales as estimated by the Census. August was $471.3 billion – or $15.2 billion per day. September was $445.4 billion – or $14.8 billion per day – down 2.6% from August to September on a per day basis . In retail sales terms, a 2.6% decline month to month is equivalent to a steep plunge.

Theoretically, the seasonal “adjustment” offsets the day-count difference between August and September. But what about the 3-day Labor Day holiday weekend? This year Labor Day fell on September 5. Presumably that weekend should have compensated for any “seasonal”differences between August (back to school?) and September. BUT on a sales/day basis, September retail sales plunged from August.

Here’s a definitive “fact check” on the Census Bureau retail sales report. The retail sales report is showing a 1% increase per the “adjusted” number from August to September. However, Black Box Intelligence, the best source for both private and public company restaurant industry data, is reporting that restaurant traffic fell 3.5% in September from August. In fact, traffic counts have dropped at least 3% in four of the last six months. Same-store-sales dropped .5%.

This private sector source of data is consistent with data that I have been presenting in the Short Seller’s Journal for trucking and freight shipments for August and September and for actual auto sales numbers, which are declining at an increasing rate, along with the rise in auto loan delinquencies. In fact, according to Fitch the default rate in subprime auto loans is now running at 9% and is expected to be at 10% by year-end. Fitch is usually conservative in its estimates. I would bet the real default rate will be well over 10% by the end of 2016.

One final significant datapoint released last week was auto sales for September. The “headline” report showed a 6% SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate) gain in September over August for domestically produced autos. However, auto sales typically increase from August to September as Labor Day sales drive September car sales. Year over year, domestic car sales plunged 19% and truck sales were down 1%.

Now for the reality-check. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, September sales for GM, Ford and Chrysler declined 0.6%, 8.1% and 0.9% respectively. Toyota and Nissan reported gains while Honda’s sale dropped. Moreover, it took heavy discounting to drive sales. In fact, incentive-spending by OEM’s on a per-unit average basis set a single-month record, topping the previous single-month record set in December 2008. Think about that for moment. – from the October 9 issue of the Short Seller’s Journal

The bottom line is that most, if not all, data coming from private-sector sources conflicts and undermines the “seasonally adjusted” garbage data reported by the Government. Just like all other news reported by the media that is sourced from the Government, the Government economic reports are yet another insidious form of propaganda tailored for political expedience. But propaganda does not create real economic activity and the middle class is becoming increasingly aware that it’s being told nothing but lies from the Government. Today’s Government generated retail sales report for September is a prime example.

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