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Retail Sales Chart Reality and Rah Rah COVID 19 Superspreader Rallies

The big news this morning was a 17.7% jump in the headline number for retail sales.


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Below is a chart of actual, not seasonally manipulated (NSA), retail sales. They were down 7.7% May to May. That compares with -19.5% April to April. Now, to my eye, the difference between -19.5% and -7.7% is +11.8%, not +17.7%. But WTF do I know? I’m just a technical analcyst, not an economist, thank god.

Retail Sales Not Seasonally Adjusted

And I won’t get into whether the numbers are even close to being accurate or not. We know that they’ll be revised big time, but I just wanted to check on the veracity of the BS narrative they’re spewing, based just on what we have on the surface.

For good measure, here’s a chart of Real Per Capita Retail Sales, again, NSA. They were down 9.1% year over year. The improvement from April to May was 11.6%. Nice bounce.

Real Retail Sales Per Capita - Not Seasonally Adjusted

Per capita retail sales are all the way back to… uh… 2012 levels. Yeah. That’s it. 2012. Apparently, even before the pandemic most Americans were not participating in the greatest economy in the history of the world.

This weekend the Trump Campaign will hold a COVID19-2020 Superspreader Rally for 20,000 mostly maskless Trump cultists in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Attendees will scream and yell in close quarters, broadcasting their spittle into the recirculating arena air for a couple hours.

Oklahoma Daily COVID 19 Cases

Oklahoma Daily COVID 19 Cases – Source:

Assuming a 3.33% infection rate, which is essentially the current positive test rate in OK, 666 attendees will carry the virus into the arena. Some will be contagious. How many more than 666 will walk out infected, no one knows. How many more they’ll infect, no one knows.

Those altruistic American patriots will leave the arena and fan out to return home throughout Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and elsewhere. Some of them will spread the little virus particles that they picked up at the rally to family and friends, and to strangers in Waffle House rest rooms. More people will get sick, and a few more grandparents will die.

And then more old people with other risk factors, like… uh… me for example (I’ll be 70 later this year), will cower in our hiding places in Croatia, or someplace else safe, avoiding retail stores and restaurants, like, um… Like the plague! Yeah that’s it. We’ll avoid shopping like the plague!

Unlike in Oklahoma, where everyone has gone back to shopping and recreating just like before the pandemic. I wonder how long that will last after the first of these COVID19-2020 Superspreader Rallies.

Oklahoma Retail and Restaurant Mobility

Oklahoma Retail and Restaurant Mobility – Source:

No doubt there will be more superspreader rallies around the country to help spread the… ah… news. It will be interesting to see how far retail sales continue to bounce back as the after effects of these events become apparent.

Enjoy the rally, everyone. The stock market rally that is.

And it’s gone.

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Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor since October 2000. I also publish, and was lead analyst for Sure Money Investor, of blessed memory. I developed David Stockman's Contra Corner for Mr. Stockman. I’ve had a wide variety of finance related jobs since 1972, including a stint on Wall Street in both sales, analytical, and trading capacities. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I was a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I was considered an expert in the analysis of failed properties that ended up in the hands of bank REO divisions, the FDIC, and the RTC. Remember those guys? I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses in parts of the 1970s and 80s. I have been charting stocks and markets and doing analytical work since I was a teenager. I'm not some Ivory Tower academic, Wall Street guy. My perspective comes from having my boots on the ground and in the trenches, as a real estate broker, mortgage broker, trader, account rep, and analyst. I've watched most of the games these Wall Street wiseguys play from right up close. I know the drill from my 55 years of paying attention. And I'm happy to share that experience with you, right here.