Recent Updates

  • US: Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (Q3), IP & Capacity Utilization (Nov)
  • US: Industrial Production Detail (Nov)
  • Cyprus: Employment & Hours (Q3)
  • Ireland: GDP, BOP (Q3)
  • Brazil: Service Sector Indexes (Oct)
  • Euro area: International Trade (Oct)
  • Kazakhstan: Exports by Commodity (Oct); Kyrgyz Rep: Monetary Aggregates, State Budget, National Bank Balance Sheet (Oct),
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Backpedal
by Tom Moeller  September 15, 2017

Total retail sales and spending at restaurants declined 0.2% (+3.5% y/y) during August. The July estimate was revised lower to 0.3% from 0.6% and June's figure was reduced to -0.1% from 0.3%. A 0.1% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Leading last month's decline was a 1.6% fall in motor vehicle & parts sales (+1.9% y/y) compared to a 3.7% fall (-6.3% y/y) in unit motor vehicle sales. Retail sales excluding autos improved 0.2% following a 0.4% rise, revised from 0.5%. A 0.3% rise had been expected. June's change was lowered to -0.2% from +0.1%. At this time, the Commerce Department indicated that Hurricane Harvey had an indeterminate effect on overall retail sales last month.

Spending on nonauto discretionary items generally weakened last month. Sales at nonstore retailers declined 1.1% (+8.0% y/y) following a 1.8% rise. Purchases at apparel stores fell 1.0% (+1.5% y/y) after a 0.5% gain. Sales at electronics & appliance stores were off 0.7% (-3.3% y/y), the fourth consecutive month of decline. Building materials and garden equipment stores eased 0.5% (+8.2% y/y) following a 0.9% rise. To the upside were gasoline service station sales which increased 2.5% (6.6% y/y) with higher prices. That followed six straight months of sales decline. Sales at furniture & home furnishings stores rose by 0.4% (5.9% y/y) following a 0.5% shortfall. General merchandise store sales gained 0.2% (3.1% y/y) following a 0.3% rise. Sporting goods & hobby shop store sales inched 0.1% higher (-1.7% y/y) following three straight months of decline.

In the nondiscretionary sector, health & personal care store sales ticked 0.1% higher (0.3% y/y) after a 0.2% rise. Food & beverage store sales rose 0.3% (2.8% y/y) following a 0.2% gain.

Restaurant sales improved 0.3% (3.0% y/y) following a 0.1% shortfall.

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

Retail Spending (%) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Retail Sales & Food Services -0.2 0.3 -0.1 3.5 3.2 2.6 4.3
  Excluding Autos 0.2 0.4 -0.2 4.0 3.0 1.4 3.8
  Non-Auto Less Gasoline -0.1 0.5 -0.1 3.7 4.0 4.2 4.7
Retail Sales -0.3 0.3 -0.1 3.6 2.9 1.9 4.1
  Motor Vehicle & Parts -1.6 -0.0 0.4 1.9 4.1 7.3 6.4
 Retail Less Autos 0.1 0.4 -0.2 4.2 2.5 0.4 3.4
  Gasoline Stations 2.5 -0.7 -1.4 6.6 -5.7 -17.6 -2.0
Food Service & Drinking Places Sales 0.3 -0.1 0.1 3.0 5.9 8.1 6.1
close
large image