Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

March Retail Sales Rose 4.5% YOY

Retail Sales Rebounded in March According to Advance Estimate Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March
Preston Stone | 16 April, 2018, 23:05

USA retail sales rose for the first time in four months in March, boosted by a large increase in automobile purchases, but in real terms were weaker than expected by some economists. The results underscore that the declines from December to February were more of a pause following a post-hurricane spending binge. The 0.3% sequential increase from February to March was ahead of the 0.2% gain from January to February, as well as the 4.3% annual jump in February. The results reinforce a Federal Reserve prediction that the declines were transitory, following increased spending after two hurricanes that struck the United States a year ago.

Personal consumption and retail spending had disappointed analysts in recent months, feeding expectations the USA economy will see slower growth in the first quarter of the year. That's more than double the overall retail sales gain in the past 12 months of 4.5 percent.

Grocery and beverage stores were up 5.9 percent year-over-year and up 0.2 percent from February.

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Consumer optimism has held at relatively high levels thanks to factors including job-market strength, rising wages and lower taxes. Control-group sales rose at a 1 percent annualized rate over the last three months, compared with 7.6 percent in the three months through December. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. The rise was mainly driven by a 2 percent growth in motor vehicle & parts dealers; however gains were comparatively broad based throughout categories.

Gas station receipts fell by 0.3 percent in March - the largest drop since July - largely due to cheaper gasoline. Gas-station sales dropped 0.3 percent, the most since July, according to the Commerce report. "We see no sign yet that the tax cuts are boosting core retail activity, though auto sales might be responding".

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