Dec 14, 2019

U.S. holiday retail sales slump

Black Friday shoppers walk New York City's 5th Avenue. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Shoppers spent less at restaurants and bars in November and didn't buy as many clothes and sporting goods as they had the month prior, according to the latest advance estimates from the Commerce Department.

The big picture: Strong consumer spending largely acted as the U.S. economy's backbone for the past two quarters and much of 2018. The Federal Reserve ended its interest rate-cutting streak on Wednesday, signaling confidence that the economy doesn't need easier borrowing conditions to stay afloat.

  • Consumer spending at restaurants and bars dropped 0.3% in November, marking the steepest monthly decline since last December, per the Wall Street Journal.

Yes, but: Retail sales — excluding gasoline and cars — did not change from October to November, WSJ reports, meaning overall sales rose 0.2% when seasonally adjusted.

  • And Cyber Monday, during which Americans spent a record $7.4 billion in online sales, wasn't included in Friday’s report since it took place on Dec. 2, the WSJ notes.

Go deeper: Black Friday shoppers beat online sales record

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Economists shrug off downbeat November retail sales due to late Thanksgiving

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Wall Street shrugged in response to below-forecast consumer spending.

What's happening: Rather than interpret the data as a sign that the all-important consumer is losing steam, some are blaming November's figures on a calendar quirk — and keeping faith shoppers will continue to open up their wallets.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019

Retail's rough post-holiday ride

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. stock market rose broadly on Thursday, but a number of retail stocks went south after companies revealed distressing news about their holiday sales.

What happened: J.C. Penney and Kohl’s reported lower sales during the critical months of November and December, and Macy's announced poor holiday sales and the closure of several stores.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

Electric vehicles face an uncertain policy landscape in 2020

Photo: Sarah Grillo/Axios

2020 is shaping up as something of a wildcard for electric vehicle markets as automakers face an uncertain policy landscape.

What's next: The number of models available in the U.S. and worldwide is surging, per BloombergNEF.

Go deeperArrowJan 2, 2020