Interesting Take on How to Read Retail Sales

The Washington Post does a good job taking a step back and parsing the often knee-jerk reactions to retail sales announcements.

Two days ago, stocks raced to record highs on reports of strong June retail sales. Yesterday, the news cycle did an about-face as June retail sales were described as "crashing" and "plunging" in a record drop.

So which was it? Was June a good month for retailers, or should they be reaching for the Kleenex? And, are we even talking about the same figures?

Short answer: Yes. And no.

The numbers don't lie, but sometimes the truth gets lost in translation. Each analysis of retail sales measures something slightly different, which can result in wildly varying conclusions.

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