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Retail Sales: Sharp Rebound, Seasonals At Play

February 15, 2023
Bottom Line:   Retail sales rose more than expected in January as core sales rebounded by 2.6% after falling in December. We should keep in mind, though, that seasonal factors are significant and have caused December to miss expectations and January to beat expectations for three years now. Auto sales rebounded sharply in December, jumping nearly 6% after declines in the final two months of 2022. Restaurant and bar sales drove the core gains, jumping over 7%. Looking through the volatility due to seasonal factors, the trend was still decelerating modestly, with control group sales gaining a modest 1.76% annualized in the three months that ended in January, notably slower than the pace of the previous six and 12 months (3.5% and 4.4%, respectively). That said, restaurant and bar sales, one of the largest segments of retail sales, were still accelerating higher. Overall, consumption growth remained positive but was decelerating modestly and trending toward a pace a bit below pre-pandemic levels.
Total US Retail Sales
ROSE 2.96%  in January (consensus was +2.0 %), November sales were revised down to -1.07% from -0.99%, while December sales were revised up to -1.09% from -1.15%.
  • Core Retail Sales (excludes Autos, Parts & Gas) ROSE 2.58%  (consensus was +0.9 %).
  • Sales in the Control Group (Core less food services and building supply) ROSE 1.66%  (consensus was +1.0 %)
  • Nonstore (Online)  sales ROSE 1.33%.
  • Restaurants & Bars sales ROSE 7.19%.
  • Food & Beverage Stores sales ROSE 0.08%.
  • Gas Stations sales were nearly unchanged,  0.04%.
  • General Merchandise Stores sales ROSE 3.16%.
  • Building & Garden Supply sales ROSE 0.31%.
  • Health & Personal sales ROSE 1.93%.
  • Clothing Stores sales ROSE 2.52%.
Article by Contingent Macro