Home > Uncategorized > Oddly, this didn’t get widely reported

Oddly, this didn’t get widely reported

Retail sales rose 4.6% in May 2008 compared with May 2007. Oh noes, the sky is falling, worst recession evah!, etc.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Tom
    June 10, 2008 at 10:55 pm | #1

    Er, don't you mean 2008 against 2007? Otherwise the sky's falling in and it's the worst recession ever…

    Beats me where people find the money from, tbh, I've been skint all year and I'm hardly on a breadline salary.

  2. June 11, 2008 at 1:39 am | #2

    Uh – sales rose in the past relative to the future??

  3. June 11, 2008 at 1:45 am | #3

    bugger. sorry. fixed.

  4. June 11, 2008 at 4:05 am | #4

    That's interesting. I will say though, consumer spending is only one part of real GDP, and retail spending is only one part of that. Perhaps people have lost confidence in the market, have decreased their investing, and spend _some_ of that on retail? By the way, increased retail spending is not necessarily as great as people think it is because a lot of goods are imported. So it does not automatically represent domestic growth.

  5. June 11, 2008 at 4:18 am | #5

    OK, so has someone made the twat-o-tron slightly saner and converted it into a spambot, or are spammers now hiring moderately bright schoolkids to go around reading blogs and leaving comments that are based on the posts?

    Either way, despite its obvious spamminess, that one gets to stay thanks to its sheer mindboggling power.

  6. June 11, 2008 at 4:20 am | #6

    Not read the data, so correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't that — in theory at least — just mean that everything is a lot more expensive? People who were once spending £100 per year on bread are now spending £104.60 for the same amount, or perhaps less?

    Good for the retailers perhaps… though even then, the higher retail prices / sales could merely be a result of higher wholesale prices and production costs. Not necessarily a positive sign for the average person, or indeed the economy as a whole.

  7. June 11, 2008 at 7:47 am | #7

    Also, John (or one of the other economically-literate folks who pop in here), could you please explain why the official inflation figure (which I assume is taken into account when they quote year-on-year sales figures) seems — to my eyes at least — completely out of kilter with reality?

    Inflation is currently running at 4.3% per annum in Ireland (so they say) but my utility charges have increased by significantly more than that in the past few months. As has the price of almost all staple foods. As has the price — most obviously — of petrol.

    Is it just because the inflation figures include stuff like luxury yachts and 98 inch plasma TVs that I don't buy? Or am I missing something?

    And if the inflation figures do include luxury goods, is there a reliable collective indicator for the price level of essential goods and services?

  8. June 12, 2008 at 12:32 am | #8

    Hmm. I hadn't realised the version on the website is less detailed than the version I get to read through work – the long version suggests that the food rise is indeed largely inflation driven (fuel etc prices don't factor here except very indirectly as this is about shop sales only), but that deflation continues in other sectors.

    Regarding inflation stats, you're right on the luxury yachts and 98" TVs point, except that it's not /just/ expensive goods – socks, shoes, dresses, shirts, cookers and carpets are all things that real people do actually buy a lot, and for which prices continue to fall.

    For the UK, National Statistics tracks prices at a commodity level, so you can see food inflation and so on – the website is unspeakably unuseable but it should be findable with a bit of searching. I'm guessing Ireland has something similar…

  9. Tom
    June 12, 2008 at 6:25 am | #9

    In brief, the inflation you feel is subjective, in that you feel the price rises more than the price reductions (such as my Wii costing less than my PS2 a few years ago, my latest DVD player costing less than 10% the price of my first, Polish builders working their socks off for bargain prices etc.). Is that it?

    [An analogy would be people going off about the rise in petrol prices as if it was the worst thing ever but not feeling that the reduction in motoring costs for years on end was the best thing ever...]

    Of course, everyone will have a personal inflation rate consisting of the basket they actually buy, and this may be above or below the real one (say if you eat very little but buy lots of neat gadgets).

  10. June 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm | #10

    I wonder whether the lack of reporting was because the report states that this rise is misleading, caused by some sunny days this year, against one of the wettest Mays on record last year, and that the underlying conditions are very tough for retail? You didn't have space for this full description in your post, so inadvertently gave the impression that trade has improved in a meaningful way.

  11. June 12, 2008 at 8:38 pm | #11

    Hmm. The Deloitte/BRC report is written by accountants, so obviously they're not going to go on a limb to be optimistic about anything – however, it's clear that they're pleasantly surprised that conditions aren't as bad as they were expecting.

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