In the more hopeful of my two scenarios for 2009, the September retail rout turns out to be a one-month event, driven in large part by Bush's awful "Panic NOW!!!" speech in support of the Wall Street bailout. I speculated that consumers might decide Bush was as wrong about economic Armaggeddon as he has been about everything else.
And in that regard, Shoppertrak reports that
Yearly NRSE sales increased 1.1 percent for the week ending October 18 as compared to the same week in 2007, while week-over-week sales posted a reasonably strong 4.7 percent gain as compared to the week ending October 11, largely due to the Columbus Day holiday. The year-over-year increase is slightly misleading, as the comparison week in October '07 did not contain Columbus Day. Additionally, sales for the month of October are down 0.9 percent compared to last year.
In late September, when Bush and Paulson told Americans to panic, retail sales on a YoY basis dropped well over 10%. Now, 1/2 of one month's data isn't exactly a trend, but it is encouraging that the steep declines of September have abated. Shoppertrak's reading for the first half of October is in line with a mild recession, not the end of the world as we know it.