CH: Adjusted real retail sales

Mon Aug 17 02:15:00 CDT 2015

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Y/Y % change -0.9% -1.8%

Real turnover in the retail sector adjusted for sales days and holidays declined 0.9 percent in June when compared with the year before. Real, seasonally adjusted turnover in the retail sector rose by 1.4 percent on the month. The retail sector adjusted for sales days and holidays stagnated on the year. Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco declined 0.6 percent but the non-food sector was up 0.6 percent. Excluding fuel, the retail sector increased 1.5 percent on the month. Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco increased 0.6 percent. The non-food sector was up 2.3 percent.

The data are provided in both nominal and volume measures; the latter is the more important for financial markets. The headline figure is the annual growth in sales volumes adjusted for differences in trading days. Seasonally adjusted monthly changes are also provided. Details are limited in the first estimate but a more complete picture is provided with the following month's release.

Consumer spending accounts for a large portion of the economy, so if you know what consumers are up to, you will have a pretty good idea on where the economy is headed. Needless to say, that is a big advantage for investors. The pattern in consumer spending is often the foremost influence on stock and bond markets. For stocks, strong economic growth translates to healthy corporate profits and higher stock prices. For bonds, the focus is whether economic growth goes overboard and leads to inflation. Ideally, the economy walks that fine line between strong growth and excessive (inflationary) growth. Retail sales not only give you a sense of the big picture, but also the trends among different types of retailers. Perhaps auto sales are especially strong or apparel sales are showing exceptional weakness. These trends from the retail sales data can help you spot specific investment opportunities, without having to wait for a company's quarterly or annual report.