Retail sales: cliff-diving or bungee jump?

Via Calculated Risk the BLS reports that retail sales took a cliff-dive in October, off (-8.8%) from last year.

Meanwhile, Shoppertrak reports that retail sales, which had declined -1.0% YoY in September, rebounded to a tepid +0.7% YoY for October. Not great, but factoring in the likely decline in YoY CPI from 4.9% in September to ~4.4% for October, reports of the death of the American consumer may still be exaggerated.

Why the difference? Most likely because Shoppertrak focuses on mall traffic, but the BLS includes gasoline sales. Anybody notice anything happening with the price of gasoline at the pump recently?

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