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We are a reality-based economic forecasting service tracking all key U.S. indicators ahead of release. We rely exclusively on the experiences of real business people in the center of the economic storm who are the true eyewitnesses to the economy's every move. No pundits, no spin – only facts and insights!

Latest Outlook

Two head fakes by the Commerce Dept. went our way after heavy revisions turned December and January retail sales on their head! 

January was tough on retail sales, as seasonal goods got sunk by an overly mild winter and a blizzard out East that trashed an entire weekend before temperatures got warm again, merchants say.

Stock market selloffs and the strong dollar put a further dent on spending by foreign tourists and locals, hurting an oversaturated luxury segment. 

Luxury especially went on heavy markdown... -- EconoPlay ahead of January retail sales

Consumers took incredible comfort from job growth and low gas prices and spent solidly for the holidays – but the rewards were reaped by the big online retailers as physical stores fought for crumbs, merchants say.

Brick and mortar did get its slice of the action late, when it was too late for FedEx and UPS to make on-time deliveries – indeed, late and lost packages were a common story for overwhelmed carriers and frustrated consumers.

Shoppers basked in the extra cash flow from cheap gas but were unwilling to endure the hassles and inconveniences of a drive to a mall. Why bother when a handheld device offers unparalleled choice and pricing, plus wrapping and free delivery?

People who spent a lifetime donning Christmas sweaters and lugging shopping bags at the local Galleria boasted of not having set foot in a mall this year.

Balmy temperatures right through Christmas Day did pinch apparel early on, but even that difficult category ended up in decent shape after early markdowns.

But the biggest story this holiday season is the accelerated creative destruction for traditional big box retail – just ask Macy’s and Toys R Us. -- EconoPlay ahead of December retail sales








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