Bank of the West US Outlook Report for December 5, 2014

  • by BPC Staff
  • on December 5, 2014
US Outlook Report: The U.S. Consumer is Doing Just Fine

There was much hand wringing earlier this week with the release of the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) estimate of an 11.0 percent drop in Thanksgiving weekend sales and 5.2 percent drop in buyer traffic from a year ago. The Thanksgiving weekend that includes Black Friday is the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season.

The consumer seemed to be on a roll before this fact got stuck in everyone’s throat. Retail sales growth accelerated in October, according to the U.S. Commerce Department with strength highly visible in vehicle sales, building materials, sporting goods, restaurants and bars, and healthcare.  So when the dismal NRF sales readings on the Thanksgiving weekend hit the tape, headlines trumpeted the terrible news.

Before you get all worked up that the good news surrounding the consumer is ending, we want you to know – we don’t buy it.  There is a lot of other evidence the U.S. consumer is in a better place financially and emotionally than we have seen in a longtime. Pick your measure: consumer confidence, job growth, growth in real disposable personal income, household wealth, household debt ratios, interest rates, and personal savings rates. The U.S. consumer seems to have the wind at their back.  In other words, holiday sales this year should be just fine.

In this week’s report we detail our reasons for deeply discounting the downbeat results from the National Retail Federation, and confirm our expectations for a solid holiday retail sales season.

To find out more, check out this week’s US Outlook Report.