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Barry Ritholtz

Retail Looks Meh, Unless You're Selling Cars

Americans have fallen back in love with cars.
You know you're gonna buy it.

You know you're gonna buy it.

Photographer: Hasan Sarbakhshian/Bloomberg

Have a look at retail sales. They have been fairly soft, disappointing, or whatever measured phrases like “OK, not terrible, but not great” that analysts and commentators favor to indicate mediocrity. Nearly all consumer spending reports are showing soft to flat data.

There is one notable exception, however, and that’s automobiles. Cars and light trucks purchased for homes and businesses are selling at a record pace -- a run rate of more than 18 million vehicles this calendar year.