Got oil prices on the brain? Who doesn't? The news media have been flogging us daily with dire predictions of pump-induced doom. I blame Wal-Mart
Today, the world's biggest retailer confirmed what I suspected at the time, and what it had hinted at later in the month: American consumers aren't going to let a little talk of inflation keep them from driving to the strip mall and whipping out their wallets.
Today's May sales numbers show a 13% increase over May of 2003. Comps were up 6%, and international sales led other segments with a 17% surge.
The Bentonville bombers sold more than $21 billion worth of goods for the month, making it a pretty fair proxy for overall consumer sentiment. But if you don't believe in the low-end of the retail world, take a look at the impressive showing today from mid-level firms like J.C. Penney
Retail shares are responding with a big yawn, but pay no attention. In fact, you may wish to reread that last clause: Pay no attention. If today's results prove anything, it's that you can't predict the macroeconomic future with any meaningful clarity. Spend your time looking for good businesses that can perform in any climate.
Interested in more Fool commentary on Wal-Mart and the effects of higher gas prices? Check out my recent take Wal-Mart: A Danger to Vermont? as well as the following: