The latest wave of stimmies, this time $1,400 a pop, began to wash over our dear consumers in March, and they went out and spent it on everything in sight, except at grocery stores, as they’re still trying to use up their three-year supply of pasta and toilet paper. A few weeks ago, when I reported on consumer spending that had dropped in February as the $600-stimmies from December-January had run out, I predicted: “Waiting for a $1,400-stimmie WTF spike in March.” And what a doozie we got today.
Retail sales in March spiked by 9.8% from February to a huge record $619 billion, seasonally adjusted, according to the Census Bureau this morning. Because March last year was already part of the lockdown plunge, I will compare all sales over the next few months to the same period in 2019. And compared to March 2019, total retail sales spiked by 20.8% to form the epic WTF chart of the year:
Prices have been surging at new and used vehicle dealers – with a big impact, as we’ll see in a moment with another WTF chart of the year – at gas stations, building materials stores, and at many other retailers. None of the data here is adjusted for inflation.The Retail WTF Charts of the Year, Powered by $1,400-Stimmies and Massive Price Increases | Wolf Street