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After Lukewarm Spell, Retail Sales Rebound

The bounceback in same-store sales further suggests that consumers haven't closed their wallets just yet and fall's lackluster numbers were only a weather-related hiccup.

Bob Johnson: This week's chart is an oldie but a goodie. It represents weekly retail-sales data reported year over year and averaged over five weeks to get a growth rate. That growth rate is often an excellent predictor of the retail-sales report from the Census Department that comes out much later. This data is compiled from just the past Saturday, so it's only a few days out of date. It's a very current set of data.

Now, it also has a very good correlation with that census data I talked about. Despite being very short term, the correlation is about 60%. So, it's a darn good indicator. Now, you do have to remember that both of these data sets are not adjusted for inflation, so the general trend here looks a little bit lower than it has been. The reason is that prices are lower for goods. Unit sales of good are probably about as they have always been.