Very interesting story about retail sales numbers at http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2006/12/how_good_were_r.html Especially taking into consideration the Commerce Department Sample Alteration : A new sample was introduced effective with the restated October 2006 advance estimates that were released on November 30, 2006. This release, and all subsequent retail estimates, will be based on this new sample. For more information please visit: http://www.census.gov/retail Fortunate Coincidence ???