Only the Grinch could love the three words that best describe today's retail sales numbers.
In short, they stink, stank, and stunk.....
From the AP by Anne D'Innocenzio entitled: Retailers report surprise drop in November
"The nation's retailers posted a surprise sales decline for November after two consecutive months of gains, as a modestly positive start to holiday shopping wasn't strong enough to offset weak spending the rest of the month.
The 0.3 percent decrease, according to one measure, is especially worrisome because it comes on top of a freefall last November as spooked shoppers went into a defensive crouch after the financial meltdown. Analyst had expected a strong gain.
Analysts caution that a better gauge of the month may lie in government retail sales numbers, slated to be released Dec. 11. The numbers offer a broader view of spending, including online sales and results from electronics chains — two bright spots for the holiday season, analysts said. Thursday's figures also don't include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer.
Nevertheless, most retailers' sluggish results missed already modest forecasts, a worrisome sign for an economy in the early stages of a fragile recovery. Now, merchants may have to step up discounting beyond what's planned as they try to entice financially strapped shoppers back to the stores in a season that is at best expected to be unchanged from a year ago.
"This is extremely disappointing for the retailers heading into the key selling season and it is not a good harbinger for things to come," said Ken Perkins, president of retail research group Retail Metrics. "It also suggests that consumers are under significant amount of pressure. They're ailing, struggling to make ends meet."
The 0.3 percent drop compared with a year ago, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers tally, is far worse than the reduced growth forecast of 3 to 4 percent. The results come on top of a 7.7 percent drop a year ago."
This is what happens when you kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
Or when people suddenly learn what the Grinch finally did....
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more." ~ Dr. Seuss, From 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'.
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