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Retail Sales: Better than expected with positive revisions

November 15, 2016
Bottom Line: Total retail spending rose in October, more than expectations. Core retail sales increased and were led by gains across nearly all sectors with the lone exception being furniture and home furnishing . Despite weaker consumer confidence and sentiment surveys in October, consumers' actual consumption was hardly impacted by election uncertainty. Year-on-year gains at both the headline and core level are now over 4%, approaching the highest pace seen in the last five years. Core Sales ex-gasoline stations and ex-building materials during October were modestly above its Q3 average, suggesting that real consumer spending added positively to Q4 GDP in the first month of the new quarter.

Retail Sales ROSE by 0.8% in October, compared with the market consensus for an increase of 0.6%. The September estimate was revised higher from 0.6% to 1.0%. Retail sales are now 4.3% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 1.6%. Spending at motor vehicle dealers climbed by 1.1%.

Core Retail Sales ROSE by 0.8%, compared with the market consensus for an increase 0.5%. The September estimate was revised higher from 0.5% to 0.7%. Core retail sales are now 4.0% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 0.5%.

In October, gains were seen at gasoline stations, primarily due to high gasoline prices (+2.2%), nonstore retailers (+1.5%), grocery stores (+0.9%), building materials (+1.1%). were partially offset by declines in furniture & home furnishing (-0.9%).

Core Retail Sales ex Gasoline ROSE by 0.6% and are now 4.4% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was a moderate 3.4%.