Retail Sales: Declines Modestly in February

March 15, 2016
Bottom Line: Total retail spending fell in February, less than expectations. Moreover, the prior month estimate was revised modestly lower. Core retail sales slipped and were led by losses in gasoline stations and general merchandise stores. Both overall and core retail sales are now increasing modestly on a year over year basis. Core Sales ex-gasoline stations and ex-building materials during January and February were still slightly above their Q4 averages, suggesting that real consumer spending will continue to add positively to Q1 GDP. Retail Sales FELL by 0.1% in February, compared with the market consensus for a decrease of 0.2%. The January estimate was revised lower from 0.2% to -0.4%. Retail sales are now 3.1% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 2.3%. Spending at motor vehicle dealers fell by 0.2%. Core Retail Sales FELL by 0.1%, compared with the market consensus for a decrease of 0.2%. The January estimate was revised lower from 0.1% to -0.4%. Core retail sales are now 2.1% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 1.0%. In February, gains at building materials (+1.6%), health and personal care (+0.7%), clothing stores (+0.9%), sporting goods, hobbies, etc. (+1.2%) were offset by declines in gasoline stations, primarily due to low gasoline prices (-4.4%), general merchandise stores (-0.2%), miscellaneous retailers (-1.1%), nonstore retailers (-0.2%), grocery stores (-0.2%), furniture & home furnishing (-0.5%), and electronic and appliance stores (-0.1%). Core Retail Sales ex Gasoline ROSE by 0.3% and are now 4.3% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 4.5%.
Article by contingentmacro