US Retail Trade Rebound Stronger than Expected
US retail trade rose by 0.6 percent month-over-month in March 2018, recovering from a 0.1 percent drop in February and beating market expectations of a 0.4 percent gain. It was the first month of increase since November, mainly boosted by purchases of motor vehicles. Considering the first quarter of the year, retail sales went up 0.2 percent.
4/16/2018 12:47:03 PM
8 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month increases.
Auto sales jumped 2 percent in March, the largest increase since last September, after declining 1.3 percent in February. Additional upward pressure came from: furniture & home furniture stores (0.7 percent vs 0.4 percent); electronics & appliance stores (0.5 percent vs -1 percent); food & beverage stores (0.2 percent, the same pace as in February); health & personal care stores (1.4 percent vs -1.1 percent); general merchandise stores (0.3 percent vs -0.4 percent); nonstore retailers (0.8 percent vs 0.9 percent); and food services & drinking places (0.4 percent, the same pace as in February).
Meanwhile, sales at gardening and building material stores fell 0.6 percent (vs 2 percent in February) and those at gasoline stations declined 0.3 percent (vs 0.1 percent in January). Sales also dropped at: sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores (-1.8 percent vs 3.3 percent); clothing & clothing accessories stores (-0.8 percent vs 0.2 percent); and miscellaneous store retailers (-0.3 percent vs -2.1 percent).
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month after being unchanged in February.
Year-on-year, retail trade grew 4.5 percent in March, compared with a 4 percent rise in February.