Following July's exuberant bounce back in retail sales (due to auto sales spike, despite auto manufacturers reporting a collapse in sales?), August Retail sales tumbled 0.2% MoM (just as we warned) and July's surprise gains were cut in half due to revisions. Retail sales growth has not been worse than this since January 2016, as online spending tumbled 1.1%.

We warned that August would be weak (basically due to i) Hurricane Harvey; ii) Pull fwd from Amazon Prime Day; and iii) very weak back to school spending)

Don't be fooled by blaming Hurricane Harvey since July's data was revised drastically lower (from +0.6% to just +0.3% MoM) as the reality of slumping auto sales hit.

Retail Sales Ex Autos dropped 0.1% - the biggest drop since July 2016.

8 categories posted increases this month versuss 7 last month:

  1. Furniture and home furnishing +0.4%
  2. Food and beverage stores +0.3%
  3. Health and personal care +0.1%
  4. Gasoline stations 2.5%
  5. Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book and Music sales +0.1%
  6. General Merchandise +0.2%
  7. Miscellaneous store retailers 1.4%
  8. Food service and drinking places 0.3%

But confirming the Amazon Prime Day effect, online spending tumbled...

This is the biggest drop in online spending since Jan 2014...