A couple of weeks ago I speculated that the US consumer may be coming back from the grave.
Today, Bloomberg reports that:
Sales at U.S. retailers in February fell less than forecast and January’s gain was almost double the previous estimate, indicating the biggest part of the economy may be starting to stabilize.
Purchases decreased by 0.1 percent, led by the slump in demand for cars, following a revised 1.8 percent jump in January, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Excluding automobiles, sales unexpectedly climbed 0.7 percent.
Please note that gasoline sales, which continued to (cough, cough) tank, are a significant part of even the -0.1% decline.
This supports the idea that consumers are normalizing their spending on smaller items, even while big ticket durable purchases like cars continue to swoon. This is, as things go, good news, because it suggests that the largest part of the economy may be stabilizing.