Thursday, April 15, 2010

go figure…

ive been watching this for a year now & no one will explain it to me…

Retail sales surge 1.6% in March – CNN - The Commerce Department said total retail sales jumped 1.6% last month, the largest monthly increase since November, from an upwardly revised 0.5% gain in February.  March retail sales surged 7.6% compared to the same month in 2009.

Texas sales tax revenue down 7.8 percent in March - Forbes… - AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas sales tax collections were down 7.8 percent in March, compared with the same month a year ago. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said Wednesday that the state collected $1.46 billion in sales tax revenue in March. Although that's down, she said collections continue to moderate for the second month in a row. Following an eight-month stretch of double-digit declines, the pace of revenue losses is slowing, Combs said.


  1. Here is what I am seeing on Main St. This supposed surge is all tax return checks. This extra spendable money will be gone in the next few weeks if it is not already gone.

    One other thing that i see. I am swiping less debit cards, and more [freshly printed CREDIT cards.]. Some from banks that i have never even heard of.

  2. RZ: texas is one of the few states doing fairly can national retail sales be up and texas states tax receipts be down in the same month?

  3. Some one must be a liar then. LOL.
    Or Texas got hit late.
    The housing boom went from Ca. to Vegas, to Phoenix, to N.M [slightly, then to Texas [slightly] before it crashed.
    My guess is that these numbers do not jive. Same b/s numbers here in PHNX. they say that sales tax is 7-15% down. But the store owners that I talk to are down 30-40-50% or they are closed, or getting ready to close.
    Retail sales can mean a lot of things. Is gas included.? Winter heating oils? If real retail sales were up, we would be seeing more hiring. That is not happening. Just yesterday I had 3 people come in and ask me for a job. People are not spending, they are paying bills.

  4. I still talk to one of the guys from marketwatch on the phone.
    His job carries him all over the state. He told me last month that in certain towns [suburbs newer developed] he sees store after store closed.

  5. Many states do not have sales tax and can drive up the overall sales volume nationwide.

    Also, internet sales are counted as commerce but sales tax is rarely collected on those transactions unless you live in the same state as the retailer.

    Hope this sheds a little light on the subject!

  6. anon@ 12:44: thanx; i hadnt considered internet sales, which is where the real growth in retail is...

  7. It is indeed tax-free internet sales. For a couple of reasons.

    First, more people are savvy about bargain hunting, and these days even with shipping you can usually get a better deal online, if you can delay instant gratification and wait for the item.

    But second, and this is really important to realize, is that in many cases you have no local option anymore. Many stores have closed. Of those that are left, many have pared down their available selections. So if you need a specific item, or are brand-loyal, you may literally only be able to get the item if you order it and have it shipped.

    For example, I have used Caruso hairsetters for almost all my life. Great product. For a couple of decades I had no issue finding them stocked locally. Every few years, the steam unit wears out though, and I have to buy a new one; stores here, however, no longer stock any kind of selection, so I have had to order the last two from Amazon (2003, and am about to again this year). This time when I went looking locally, I found exactly 3 brands of hair curlers to choose from - all of them cheaply made and unsuitable. So Amazon's about to get my 30 bucks again.

    Just about the only non-durable goods our household has not transitioned to buying 100% online is food and some clothing. And services- about to get the house repainted.

  8. Ya, but is it not true that if the item is bought from, and shipped from a store in your state, then there is a sales tax?

  9. i dug up this esales report: from the summary:eMarketer forecasts that after two years of subpar growth, 2010 US retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will climb by 12.7% on volume of $152 billion.
    based on march retail sales of $363B, we might guess a ballpark figure of $4 1/2 trilion for the were tralking about 3 1/2 % of total, and as RZ says, some of those are taxed...

    so although it makes up some of the discrepancy, it aint all of it...


    31pp, detailed state sales tax breakout on p 15 & 16, texas is one of the worst declines @ 13%...

    State sales tax collections in the October-December 2009 quarter were down 5.3 percent from the same quarter in 2008, and 11.3 percent from the same period two years earlier.

    The Southwest had the largest decline at 15.2 percent...

  11. THE main driving force in Tea land is energy. Maybe the real estate boom did hit them a little late. A drop in sales tax can only mean one thing. No jobs.

  12. Could it be that Texas' Teabubbery factor is so high that lower consumer confidence is depressing retail sales?

  13. RZ, back to your first comment, here's an article that quantifies the effect of the tax refunds: Extra Tax Refunds Giving Consumers A Short-Term Boost - Amid all the optimism that the consumer is back, it’s worth considering one of the reasons why: a huge tax refund season.As the economy was nose-diving last spring, most people probably overlooked the record-smashing $259 billion in refunds awarded (as of April 24) — roughly $40 billion, or 17% ahead of the 2008 tax season. Back then, panic was in the air, consumers were retrenching and the refunds acted as a Band-Aid on an open wound. But this year, with an economic upturn under way, an even more rewarding tax season is serving more as a vitamin boost. New IRS data out Friday show that refunds are running about $10 billion ahead of last year’s record pace, even though the agency has processed 4% fewer returns. That means refunds are running about $50 billion ahead of 2008 levels — hardly chump change. If you consider that the bulk of refunds are doled out within a three-month period (though spread out between the first and second quarter), the extra refunds amount to an annualized 1.3% of GDP.What’s more, as IBD previously reported (subscription required), the Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that people who don’t pay income tax are receiving an extra $30 billion in refundable credits courtesy of the Recovery Act.

    substantiating links in the article:

  14. Tax returns:
    Most people that have a refund coming file early, and get their refund earlier due to etax.People who owe money file late.
    H.and R. Block even issues debit cards.
    Most of the tax return money is gone. They used to pay backed up bills, or to buy essentials. Then the use is to buy "want" goods. Not much left over by then.
    I am not a stock guy. But if people are going to base their portfolio on the last quarter retail sales. Then they will not be happy.
    Politics, ral estate, and now jobs are local.
    There will be some areas that will get a jobs boost from the stimulus, they will be few and far between.
    Retail sales can not go up when the customer count is way down.
    Just go to your local mall. Watch the people, and see how many bags they are carrying on the way to the car. NOT MANY.

  15. I see the same thing here, RZ- any of my friends that have rec'd a refund are spending it on stocking up on basics. Literally. No one is buying anything extra. And there is little movement of cars, of houses. If I had any extra, there are tons of great deals on everything. Something's gotta give, and soon. Feels like a pressure cooker... And NO NEW JOBS!