Bumps in auto sales helped pull up overall retail numbers.
Retail sales in America grew by 0.6% in March after three straight months of declines. From The Wall Street Journal:
Retail sales—a measure of outlays at stores, restaurants and websites—increased a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in March from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Monday, beating economist expectations.
Part of the rise in retail sales was an expected bounceback after three consecutive months of weak readings. In February, sales dropped 0.1% after a 0.2% drop in January and a 0.1% decline in December.
“Retail sales rose for the first time in March, but the report was nothing to write home about,” wrote Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, in a note to clients. “Consumer spending is growing at a moderate pace.”
Despite what Faucher says, economists predicted that retail sales would only grow .4% last month. The percentage also places retail sales up 4.5% in March from a year ago.
It looks like car sales helped the bump. Without those sales, the percentage would be .2%. Sales also improved stores that sell furniture, electronics, restaurants, grocery stores, and personal care. Home improvement and clothing stores saw sales fall in March. From Reuters:
In March, auto sales jumped 2.0 percent, the largest increase since last September, after declining 1.3 percent in February. Receipts at service stations fell 0.3 percent, reflecting cheaper gasoline.
Sales at furniture stores climbed 0.7 percent while those at electronics and appliance stores increased 0.5 percent. But sales at building material stores fell 0.6 percent last month.
Receipts at clothing stores dropped 0.8 percent while sales at online retailers increased 0.8 percent. Sales at restaurants and bars gained 0.4 percent. Receipts at sporting goods and hobby stores dropped 1.8 percent.
These stats do not include “spending on most services such as housing and health care.” The numbers “can be volatile from month to month” and are not “adjusted for inflation.”
Mark Frissora, chief executive at Caesars Entertainment Corp., told analysts on the phone that the “strong labor market, buoyant consumer confidence and the recent tax cuts offer a favorable outlook for spending patterns.” He noted that on the macro level, they are “seeing both positive trends in consumer sentiment and spending.”
Online sales saw a bump to .8% in March. Those sales have grown 10% since a year ago.DONATE
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