Retail sales: Compared with what?

January 16, 2011

In an article yesterday on The Huffington Post, Abby Wendle reported that retail sales increased for the 6th straight month.

This is good news, but how good is it? How do the sales of the most recent 6 months compare with the same months in 2006, 7, 8?

I don’t have the answer to that question, but tomorrow in my blog I will ask the same question about unemployment statistics. For that question I do have the answer.

One of my pet reporting peeves is a story that omits critical information (facts) that would allow the reader (me) to draw some conclusions about the significance of the story.

On several occasions, my local paper, The Oregonian, has reported the remarkable increase in revenues for some local company but has failed to include what is happening to the bottom line. In several instances, companies that have touted their revenue increases in the press have failed not long after.