Retail Sales Flat

Retail sales were flat last month.  Biggest problem was cars, which were down a percent and a half.

Gasoline purchases–not adjusted for price increases–rose nearly two percent, so we didn’t have a lot left over to grow spending in other categories.  This data report suggests that the rate of economic growth is slowing a bit.

At the same time, producer prices were up moderately, which means they rose more than the Fed would like, but not at a frightening pace.  Also, inventory-sales ratio for American business was unchanged.

Business strategy implications:  Retailers and manufacturers of big-ticket, discretionary purchases should be a little nervous.  Maybe I’m over-reading the tea leaves, but I think the pace of economic growth is slowing.  A recession looks VERY unlikely, but a somewhat slower rate of growth seems to be in the cards.