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Retail Sales: Stronger with Positive Revisions

August 15, 2017
Bottom Line: Total retail spending jumped more than expected in July. While led by nonstore and miscellaneous retail (Amazon's "Prime Day"was held July 9th), there were solid gains across categories and strong upward revisions to June data. Core retail sales growth over the last 3 months is still slower than the 6- and 12-month averages, but the July data and strong June revisions suggest some stabilization has occurred for the decelerating trend. Additionally, core Sales ex-gasoline stations and ex-building materials during July were modestly above its Q2 average, suggesting that real consumer spending will continue to add positively to Q3 GDP.

Retail Sales ROSE by 0.6% in July, compared with the market consensus for an increase of 0.3%. The June estimate was revised from -0.20% to 0.26%. Retail sales are now 4.2% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 2.2%. Spending at motor vehicle dealers climbed by 1.2%.

Core Retail Sales ROSE by 0.5%, compared with the market consensus for an increase 0.3%. The June estimate was revised from -0.20% to 0.09%. Core retail sales are now 3.8% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 1.9%.

  • In July, gains at nonstore retailers (+1.3%), building materials (+1.2%), grocery stores (+0.4%), miscellaneous retailers (+1.8%). were partially offset by declines in gasoline stations, primarily due to low gasoline prices (-0.4%), electronic and appliance stores (-0.5%), clothing stores (-0.2%).

Core Retail Sales ex Gasoline ROSE by 0.54% and are now 4.0% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was a moderate 3.3%