No Retail Slump – – – Just A ‘Warm’ October

Janet Yellen and orthodox economists claim that the economy can only be gaining, and that word is taken, on faith, as if some updated, modern gold standard for meaning. No matter the contrary in actual evidence and observation, the ‘word’ remains as if diktat were the only employ. It has produced some very strange dichotomies, particularly of late, where those within that economic cage are struggling mightily and obviously to find some kind of consistency with it all. It has led to an Orwellian deployment of qualifications and words quite contrary to their established meaning.
For one, apparently the American economy cannot withstand anything but the fattest, meatiest part of the Bell Curve for temperature. Anything outside of a narrow range in weather (which, if you are paying attention, is what weather actually is) and somehow economists and their media parrots become disenthralled and unhinged. We all know about the constant appeal, three winters in a row, of cold and snow and vortices of some blusterous nature, but now warm weather has been assigned the same depressive instincts. I wish I were making this up, for it does not suggest anything good about the economy nor the state of the commentary class that still clings to Yellen’s desperate narrative no matter how much and how deeply actual observation moves sharply against it all.
As expected, balmy October days failed to inspire people to shop for winter coats, but the retail sales results were even a little worse than forecast. The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index actual result for October 2015 showed no change, missing its final estimate of a 0.3% gain. Excluding drug stores, the SSS Index registered a -0.2% comp for October, missing its 0.1% final estimate.
It’s important to note that these results are not final, as the Gap will report October SSS on Nov. 9. However, 75% of retailers missed estimates, hit by lower gasoline prices, the effect of a strong U. S. dollar and the warmer-than-usual weather. [emphasis added]
A negative same store sales index register is recession, but Yellen has declared that all ‘transitory’ so the people at Reuters are left making a mockery of their own work. Worse, Thompson Reuters just over a week ago, in projecting the alarming re-appearance of negative retail figures in its own index, even stated that a negative was consistent with recession:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ November 11, 2015.

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