Following the January retail sales report we noted that there was little to validate that December softness was a one-time affair. The February data validates this and the three-month average annualized pace of spending implies the U.S. household is engaged in more than just the traditional holiday spending hangover, despite relatively solid job and wage gains. We normally do not make much of the month-to-month variation in the top line data and prefer to smooth out the noise by looking at the three-month average annualized pace to gain insight into the underlying growth trend in retail. Even with the solid upward revision to the January data, the trend is not constructive. Top-line sales declined 3.5 percent using that metric, core sales fell 1.3 percent and the control group that feeds into the calculation of GDP declined by 2.1 percent, underscoring our pessimistic outlook on growth for the first quarter of 2019.