The Census Bureau reported this morning that:
Retail trade sales were down 0.4 percent (±0.7%)* from March 2009 and 11.4 percent (±0.7%) below last year. Gasoline stations sales were down 36.4 percent (±1.5%) from April 2008 and motor vehicle and parts dealers sales were down 20.7 percent (±2.3%) from last year.
This drop was not anticipated by most observers.
As with March, it appears that almost all of the decline in consumer sales vs. a year ago is cars and gas. (Update: Ex-gas and cars, YoY retail sales are flat to -0.1%).
Last month's decline failed to take into account the early Easter from last year vs. this year. Thus we should probably average the two months' data, for a decline of -.9% YoY.
For now, the consumer decline isn't getting significantly worse, but the consumer resurrection from the grave has stalled.