In December, retail turnover in the United States went down 1.2 % to 505.8 billion dollars (450 billion euros). Analysts were expecting improvement, but instead saw the biggest dip in ten years.
There are no winners in the latest report from the United States Census Bureau: turnover decreased in almost every category. Sports items, books and musical instruments lost almost 5 %, department stores more than 3 %.
Some analysts are questioning the accuracy of these figures because they are so bad. The reason for their sceptical attitude is the fact that the report arrived after a month's delay because of the shutdown. Some are even question the data collection and processing itself, believing that the delay has led to errors.
Economists are divided on the stability of the American economy for the rest of the year. Some are expecting a recession in the second half of the year, but according to Jack Kleinhenz, head economist of the National Retail Federation, the economy is not about to fall apart. "We expect, I expect, that we will see some slower growth in 2019, certainly due to the fact that some of the stimulus we had earlier this year will be working its way off but consumer spending remains in place."