US Retail Sales Unexpectedly Drop in February

US retail trade fell by 0.2 percent from a month earlier in February 2019, following an upwardly revised 0.7 percent growth in January and missing market expectations of a 0.3 percent gain.

7 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month decreases.

Sales at building material stores slumped 4.4 percent, the biggest drop since April 2012, reversing a 4.4 percent increase in the previous month. In addition, receipts at clothing stores declined 0.4 percent (vs -0.6 percent in January) and those at furniture & home furniture stores dropped 0.5 percent (vs -0.3 percent in January). Sales at food and beverage stores fell the most since February 2009 (-1.2 percent vs 1.4 percent) and those at electronics and appliances stores posted the largest decline since May 2017 (-1.3 percent vs 0.6 percent). Sales also dropped at general merchandise stores (-0.3 percent vs 0.5 percent) and at miscellaneous store retailers (-1.6 percent vs unchanged).

Meanwhile, increases were seen in sales at motor vehicle & parts dealers (0.7 percent vs -1.9 percent), gasoline stations (1 percent vs -1.2 percent), health & personal care stores (0.6 percent vs 2.4 percent), hobby, musical instrument and book stores (0.5 percent vs 5.2 percent), online and mail-order trade (0.9 percent vs 4.5 percent) and restaurants & bars (0.1 percent vs unchanged).

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales fell 0.2 percent in February after an upwardly revised 1.7 percent surge in January.

Year-on-year, retail trade growth eased to 2.2 percent from 2.8 percent in the previous month.

US Retail Sales Unexpectedly Drop in February

US Census Bureau | Joana Ferreira |
4/1/2019 12:49:56 PM