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Merrill on Retail “Consumer demand pulled back in August”

A few excerpts from two BofA Merrill Lynch research notes: Consumer demand pulled back in August

Based on the aggregated BAC credit and debit card data, retail sales ex-autos fell 0.5% month-over-month (mom) seasonally adjusted (sa). This reversed the 0.9% mom gain in July. As always, there were a number of “special factors” which we decipher in this note.

Amazon Prime Day and other retailers’ summer promotions in mid-July provided a significant boost to spending, as we showed last month. In our view, these promotions effectively pulled forward demand into July and out of August.

Outside of the promotion distortions, we also think spending was dampened by weakening sentiment.
emphasis added

And on confidence: The uneasy consumer

The consumer is beginning to worry. Since our last update in mid-August, the BofAML US consumer confidence indicator (USCCI) declined by 3.8 points to 50.1 based on data through September 9. It briefly dipped below the 50 breakeven level during the survey period indicating that the consumer is growing increasingly pessimistic.

CR Note: Retail sales for August will be released on Friday, and the consensus is for a 0.3% increase in retail sales.

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