Readers will remember that in February, we read about a warning from Wal-Mart's vice-president of finance and logistics. To recap:
“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”
Now comes this news.
Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in March by the most in nine months as employment slowed, showing households ended the first quarter on softer footing.
. . .
Department stores and electronics dealers were among the weakest showings.
The figures may prompt economists, who are projecting consumer spending climbed in the first quarter at the fastest pace in two years, to reduce growth estimates. A pickup in hiring and bigger increases in wages will be needed to ensure any slowdown proves temporary as federal budget cuts and an increase in the payroll tax restrain the expansion.
“Households are now making those difficult choices on how to adjust spending,” said Ellen Zentner, a senior economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York, who projected sales would drop. “We have no steam going into the second quarter.”
There's more at the link.
Karl Denninger cites another report giving similar numbers, and concludes:
Oh well, so much for the consumer is strong.
Can we dispense with the lies now?
(In possibly unrelated news, Mr. Murray left Wal-Mart last week. Go figure.)