1st quarter 2009 retail sales are going to be bullcrap
January retail numbers have been readjusted and are now up 1.8% compared to december, while feb. numbers also show an increase compared to january.
Most likely first quarter retail sales are going to show as an improvement compared to fourth quarter sales. Everyone is going to use this data and call it a sign of the bottom.
DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD OF IT!
The only reason january and feb. sales are up is that people purchased gift cards in november/december to give to people as christmas gifts. Due to accounting rules these gift cards can not be counted as sales until they are redeemed.
The improvement in jan/feb is only due to the accounting rules and does not reflect an increase in purchasing power.