Retail sales for satellite radio according to NPD Group were stronger in May than they were than April. NPD Group tracks retail sales from various major stores, but does not include all retail sales. Sales made directly by Sirius and XM are not counted either.

While month over month comparisons show progress, the year over year comparisons were a split decision in the SDARS sector. Sirius was of 2% on a year over year basis while XM was off 36%.

June will be the telling month on the retail channel. Father's Day and Graduations typically represent a boost in retail sales. So far NPD tracked retail sales are progressing ahead of the first quarter, which is a good sign. In Q1 XM had negative NET retail additions, and Sirius had a modest NET retail gain of a bit over 2,500 subscriptions.

According to Stifel analyst Kit Springs, Sirius is pacing ahead of what was anticipated, and XM is on pace with what was anticipated, meaning that expectations on the sector as a whole are ahead of the analysts projections.

Retail is not hitting on all cylinders, but perhaps more problematic is the OEM channel which is seeing decreased production and poor sales. OEM was anticipated to be the driver for SDARS in 2008, but even as analysts are seeing better than expected retail, they are having to now adjust their OEM models.

Retail sales have likely been impacted by the lack of new hardware, merger confusion, and a slumping economy. SDARS needs a strong June to finish off the first half of the year.

Position - Long Sirius, Long XM