Blog: Leonie BarrieThe devil’s in the detail

Leonie Barrie | 17 February 2009

The good news is that US retail sales rose unexpectedly in January. The bad news for clothing retailers (whose January sales were 1.6% higher than in December), though, is that their sales didn’t rise as fast as those of essential items like food and gas (up 2.6% and 2.1% respectively).

Which suggests that while shoppers might have been seduced by post-holiday discounts, they are still focusing on things they need and cutting back on those they don’t. The results are also skewed because December sales were revised down by 0.3%.

And in a comparison with January 2008 – which tallies with the same-store sales results reported by retailers – the results are even less impressive, with clothing sales tumbling 10.3%.

As with all statistics, the devil is most certainly in the detail.


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