Uh Oh, Retail Sales Down, Wholesale Prices Up

The AP says that inflation in wholesale prices “shot up” by the largest amount in 26 years, while retail sales slumped. December was the worst shopping season in 5 years.

The Labor Department reported that wholesale inflation was up 6.3 percent for all of 2007, reflecting a huge increase for the year in various types of energy costs ranging from gasoline to home heating oil.

Meanwhile, retail sales fell by 0.4 percent in December, the worst showing in six months, the Commerce Department reported. Consumer confidence has plunged, reflecting the worsening housing slump and a lingering credit crisis.

Aw, shucks.

What price increases have you noticed this year, apart from gasoline? Milk?

Wholesale Prices Up; Retail Sales Fall [NYT]


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  1. Eggs. Every time I’m like, “woah, eggs went and got expensive.”

    I’ve also noticed out-of-season asparagus is more expensive. :) I’ll be curious to see, when it comes back in season in the spring, if it’s at its previous levels (99 cents/lb on sale in season; $1.99/lb not-on-sale. used to be $3/lb out-of-season but is now running $4/lb), or if it’s expensive in the spring too. I guess it’s coming from Chile or whatever in the winter; in the spring it’s fairly locally sourced.

    I’m sure this is true of other produce, but I sort-of keep track of asparagus because a) it’s SUCH a springtime food; 99-cent asparagus is a sign it’s spring! and b) there’s such an enormous seasonal differential.

  2. tinmanx says:

    Canadian money cost more.

  3. Starfury says:

    Everything overall seems more expensive, mostly food items. Milk/cheese are VERY expensive and gasoline costs hurt too. Because of the costs of things I need (food/shelter) have gone up the things I want (new computer, LCD TV, Ferrari) are not being bought. We’ve also cut eating out down to once a week or less: this is not only good for our wallets but our health too.

    Financially my family is in very good shape, we can live off my check and my wife’s check goes into savings. It’s not easy but we get by.

  4. Phunk says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. Even my financial industry friends (who are usually always swimming in money) had a comparatively reserved holiday season.

  5. JayXJ says:

    Motor oil, paint, and building supplies seem to have gone up a bit. Transport costs (in the case of paint and building supplies) being passed onto the consumer I suppose.

  6. outofoffice says:

    Plenty of real as well as “stealth” inflation going on and I really wonder why there is not more media coverage on the issue.

    All things food related are quickly increasing, not just food staples, but dining out as well. Just like Consumerist pointed out a couple of times, I have seen examples now of manufacturers shrinking products rather than raise prices as well. I just purchased some Reynolds aluminum foil on sale and noticed the older stock was 25sq feet, the newer packages are now 20sq ft.

  7. AD8BC says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Mmmm. Asparagus. I love it.

    Sure makes the pee stink though. Sounds like the pee stink is getting more expensive.

  8. dgcaste says:

    Turkey and roast beef are very expensive by the pound recently.

  9. rachaeljean says:

    Airline tickets!!! :(

    Also, beef, which sucks because it’s sure as heck not any “safer” to eat lately.

  10. StevieD says:


    Transportation costs are passed through to consumer prices on everything.

  11. theblackdog says:

    Airline Tickets, Gasoline, milk, cheese, meat. Those are what I have immediately noticed. I bake my own bread and since I need flour, I’ll have to see what that costs when I shop tomorrow.

  12. ElizabethD says:

    It’s starting to look like this country is basically f–cked. Unless you’re in the top 1% of income brackets.

    The grocery store makes me want to cry (except when I find that wonderful red grapefruit on sale, 2 for $1 this week, yum)… We have two teenagers at home so there are only so many ways to economize on food.

  13. bearymore says:

    According to the Economist, “The Economist’s food-price index is now at its highest since it began in 1845, having risen by one-third in the past year.” That’s 1845, not 1945, 2000, but 1845 — the highest food prices in 162 years!!! It also notes that this year’s harvests have been among the most abundant ever. Why the quick run-up – think corn subsidies for ethanol production.

    See the article at [www.economist.com]

  14. jurisenpai says:

    Flour: up from $2.69/5lbs to $3.29/5lbs. I buy King Arthur Flour, and they had a note in their last few catalogs regarding the incredible spike in wheat prices.

    Butter: up from $2.69 to $2.99 at Whole Foods for store brand. I went to Harris Teeter, and their store brand butter was $5.15!

  15. girlfriend 6.0 says:

    I would say grains too. Cereal prices have gone crazy lately. That could possibly be transportation costs as well.

  16. kellyhelene says:

    Not something that will impact most people (yet), but I’ve noticed American-made fabric prices are just starting to go up. Fabric has a long way to go between field and consumer, so I’d imagine the ethanol thing is it, and it’s just taken a while to show.

    Eventually clothes will get more expensive as a result, I’d imagine.

  17. nutrigm says:

    Yup, better stock up on your razor blades now. [www.encure.com] I can assure you prices are GOING UP SOON!

  18. forever_knight says:

    has anyone mentioned dirty whores? surprisingly, STD prevention options are not going up in price.

  19. huevosconvino says:

    Grapes…no less than $5/pound in the Seattle area, and that’s for “conventional Mexican” grapes. Organic grapes seem to have vanished lately but they were at least $5/pound too. Also, the brands, countries of origin, and even the color (green vs. red) of grapes available vary from week to week. Obviously transportation is a big part of the cost, but other goods from Mexico cost significantly less (such as green beans).

  20. weggles90 says:

    I noticed that Super Smash Brothers Melee (Yes, the old one for Gamecube) is still $50! It’s a 6 year old game, on an out dated system, and should’ve allready been on the Greatest Hits line…

  21. zara_h says:

    Here in south LA, cheddar cheese costs $8.49/lb at lovely local retailers (not the swanky one, either). That’s up about 2 bucks a pound. Thank goodness for Trader Joe’s.

  22. KarmaChameleon says:

    @weggles90: Uh, SSBM has been Player’s Choice for years. You’re shopping at the wrong stores. Also, video games are not subject to the same kind of market pressures as food, being a “want” and not a “need”.

    The only bearing that has on this article is that when necessities are more expensive, people have less discretionary income for bullshit. Unless you’re one of those sad sack slackers living in mom’s basement with no bills to speak of, you have to budget your income to allow for things like this. I’ve had an Amazon.com cart put together for three months but grocery bills have been too much to pull the trigger on it.