The news for the end of the year was better than anticipated, matching the news coming from the retail sector in general. The gains in the overall CMI were impressive, but of more significance is the improvement in some key sub‐sectors. For the past four to five months there were pretty steady gains in areas like sales and new credit applications—the sectors that usually herald some improvement in business conditions. But, until this month, the gains had not reached levels set earlier in the year. It now looks like there is some momentum heading into 2011; as the combined index now sits at 55.8.
Sales reached the highest point of the last 12 months, getting back to levels last seen in April when it was at 65.7. It now stands at 65.9, a solid improvement on the 61.9 registered in November. “The sales numbers have been rising in both manufacturing and service sectors and that is promising for the coming quarter,” said Chris Kuehl, PhD, NACM economic advisor and director of Armada Corporate Intelligence. “The improvement in new credit applications is more significant yet, given the impact it has on future growth. For the first time in well over three years, it broke 60. There is certainly reason for future optimism as this factor was only registering 54 to 54.8 as late as September. More and more businesses are now anticipating expansion and are seeking credit in order to meet that expected demand.”December CMI Report (387)