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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Decline Broadly
by Tom Moeller  July 14, 2017

Consumer spending has discernibly weakened during the last two months. Total retail sales and spending at restaurants fell 0.2% during June (+3.2% y/y) following a 0.1% May dip, revised from -0.3%. A 0.1% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales at motor vehicle & parts dealerships edged up 0.1% (4.3% y/y), compared to a 0.9% fall (-1.8% y/y) in unit motor vehicle sales. Retail sales excluding autos decreased 0.2% (+3.0%) following an unrevised 0.3% fall during May. A 0.2% rise had been expected.

Spending on nonauto discretionary items again was mixed last month. Building materials store sales improved 0.5% (5.1% y/y) following three straight months of decline. Sales at nonstore retailers increased 0.4% (9.9% y/y) following a 0.8% rise. General merchandise store sales also rose 0.4% (2.3% y/y), reversing a 0.4% drop. Electronics & appliance store sales improved 0.1% (1.6% y/y) after a 1.3% decline. Furniture & appliance store sales also ticked 0.1% higher (2.6% y/y) after a 0.6% easing. To the downside for the month were sporting goods, hobby shop, book & music store sales which posted a 0.6% decline (-7.7% y/y) after a 1.1% drop. Clothing store sales eased 0.1% (+1.0% y/y) and purchases at furniture & appliance stores improved 0.1% (2.6% y/y) as well. Gasoline service station sales fell 1.3% (+0.7% y/y) with lower prices, the fourth consecutive monthly drop.

In the nondiscretionary sector, health & personal care store sales increased 0.3% (0.9% y/y) after a 0.2% gain. Food & beverage store sales declined 0.4% (+2.0% y/y) following a 0.1% gain.

Restaurant sales fell 0.6% (+3.0% y/y), the fourth decline in five months.

The retail sales data can be found in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics forecast expectations are included in the AS1REPNA database.

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions is available here.

Retail Spending (%) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Retail Sales & Food Services -0.2 -0.1 0.3 3.2 3.2 2.6 4.3
  Excluding Autos -0.2 -0.3 0.3 3.0 3.0 1.4 3.8
  Non-Auto Less Gasoline -0.1 -0.0 0.4 3.1 3.9 4.2 4.6
Retail Sales -0.1 -0.1 0.4 3.3 2.9 1.9 4.1
  Motor Vehicle & Parts 0.1 0.9 0.5 4.3 4.1 7.3 6.4
 Retail Less Autos -0.2 -0.4 0.4 3.0 2.5 0.4 3.4
  Gasoline Stations -1.3 -3.0 -0.5 0.7 -5.7 -17.6 -2.0
Food Service & Drinking Places Sales -0.6 0.4 -0.2 3.0 5.9 8.1 6.1
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