In other news, Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow says Trump will propose making more of his tax cuts permanent and call for more tax cuts, but he won't release the proposal until September. How convenient is that?
Meanwhile, European Union officials are reportedly planning to use the upcoming G-20 Summit to promote the same tax on digital services that Trump is threatening to expand his trade war over.
“We need to give the highest priority to finding global solutions to address the taxation of the digital economy and the remaining Base Erosion and Profit Shifting issues,” said a document outlining the stance of all European Union members of the G20, plus Britain, which left the EU last month.
Finally, retail sales and industrial production took a big hit in January. Sales at retail clothing stores dropped by the largest amount since the Great Recession in 2009. Some holiday sales numbers were also revised downward.
Data for December was revised down to show the so-called core retail sales rising 0.2% instead of jumping 0.5% as previously reported. Core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. [...]
In January, overall retail sales rose 0.3%, but data for December was revised down to show sales gaining 0.2% instead of climbing 0.3% as previously reported.
Receipts at clothing stores dropped 3.1% last month, the most since March 2009. Clothing retailers have been struggling with plummeting mall traffic as consumers opt for online shopping. Macy’s announced this month plans to close 125 of its least productive stores over the next three years and cut more than 2,000 corporate jobs.
As a personal anecdote -- the last three times I went to Kohl's to look for clothes, I came home with nothing. Their selection is not great, but more importantly their prices are usually too high and they're cheaper than most other clothing stores. I buy almost everything from Amazon now and while I know some people find shopping on Amazon to be ethically dubious, I really can't afford to pay more for inferior goods just for vanity's sake.
I know I'm very far from alone in that and it's slowly killing the brick-and-mortar retail industry, but I don't necessarily blame Amazon for that either. They were just the first to the big game and if it wasn't Amazon, some other company (probably Wal-Mart) would have filled the same void in the market. I am old enough to remember when Wal-Mart was blamed for killing mom-and-pop stores, but in the 21st century, Amazon is blamed for killing big-box stores like Wal-Mart. And in hindsight, I don't think either sentiment tells the whole story.
All of this including the delivery drivers will eventually be automated and it will be a moot discussion. Wal-Mart is currently testing a grocery delivery service that uses robots in an automated warehouse that will eventually use automated delivery vehicles, too.