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Retail Sales: Sharp Rebound To End 1st Quarter

April 18, 2019

Bottom Line: Retail sales rebounded sharply in March after weather and the government shutdown slowed February sales. Most sectors were higher, including a sharp rebound in auto sales. Ex-autos and gasoline sales were also stronger as furniture and home-related goods, clothing and food/beverage rebounded sharply. The three-month average annaulized growth ex-gasoline and building materials was 8.5%, suggesting real consumer spending used for the GDP tally rebounded sharply 4th Quarter's 2.5% pace.

Retail Sales ROSE by 1.6% in March, compared with the market consensus for an increase of 1.0%.The February estimate was revised lower from -0.20% to -0.21%. Retail sales are now 3.6% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 5.1%. Spending at motor vehicle dealers climbed by 3.1%.

Core Retail Sales ROSE by 1.2%, compared with the market consensus for an increase 0.7%. The February estimate was revised from -0.42% to -0.24%. Core retail sales are now 3.6% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 5.2%.

  • In March, gains at gasoline stations, primarily due to high gasoline prices (+3.5%),
  • nonstore retailers (+1.2%),
  • grocery stores (+1.0%), and general merchandise stores (+0.7%).
  • These were partially offset by declines in sporting goods, hobbies, etc. (-0.3%).

Core Retail Sales ex Gasoline ROSE by 0.90% and are now 3.6% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was a moderate 4.6%

Article by Contingent Macro Advisors