Retail Sales Trends are Clear as Mud

Is this a good or bad sign for retail sales?

It is difficult to look at the retail sales data this week and figure out the state of the economy and/or the direction it is heading in. On the one hand, the National Retail Federation reported a higher number of shoppers compared to last year, but the average shopper kept to a tighter budget. The result was a decrease of 2.9 percent in sales from the comparable Thanksgiving weekend period from last year.