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Retail Sales: Slower September Somewhat Offset By Upward Revisions to August

October 16, 2019

Bottom Line: Core retail sales fell slightly in September, led by declines at building material and garden supply stores, as well as non-store retailers (typically a very stronger category). There were net upward revisions to August and July data, but the trend across most categories was still showing signs of a modest deceleration. That said, the Q3 average for core sales ex gasoline stations and ex building materials is solidly above its Q2 level, suggesting that real consumer spending accelerated from its 4.7% Q2 pace. Overall the trend in retail sales suggests a modest deceleration in consumption is taking place after a strong rebound throughout the first seven months of the year.

Retail Sales FELL by 0.3% in September, compared with the market consensus for an increase of 0.3%.

The August estimate was revised from 0.36% to 0.57%. Retail sales are now 4.1% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 3.9%. Spending at motor vehicle dealers fell by 0.9%.

Core Retail Sales FELL by -0.1%, compared with the market consensus for an increase 0.2%. The August estimate was revised from 0.02% to 0.24%. Core retail sales are now 3.7% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was 5.1%.

In September, gains at

  • clothing stores (+1.3%),
  • health and personal care (+0.6%),
  • furniture & home furnishing (+0.6%), and
  • miscellaneous retailers (+0.5%).
were more than offset by declines in

  • building materials (-1.0%),
  • gasoline stations, primarily due to low gasoline prices (-0.7%),
  • nonstore retailers (-0.3%), and
  • general merchandise stores (-0.3%).

Core Retail Sales ex Gasoline FELL by 0.01% and are now 4.5% ABOVE their year ago level; just a year ago, the year over year growth rate was a moderate 4.3% .

Article by Contingent Macro Advisors