• 25 mins China's Most Powerful Weapon In The Trade War
  • 2 hours Can The S&P 500 Shake Off Negative Sentiment?
  • 18 hours Standards Go Out The Window As Employers Struggle To Fill Jobs
  • 19 hours The Two Trillion Dollar Markets Amazon Hasn’t Conquered
  • 20 hours Digital Supermodels Outperform Humans
  • 21 hours France Could Lose Billions In EU Trade Route Redirection
  • 22 hours Beer Giants Are Striking Out With Millennials
  • 1 day What Is Bakkt And Can It Take Bitcoin Mainstream?
  • 1 day Tesla’s Board Delivers A Stern Message To Elon Musk
  • 2 days Bitcoin Could Challenge Gold As Major Asset Class
  • 2 days Google In Talks With Tencent Over Cloud Business
  • 2 days Tech Giants Charge Deeper Into $8 Trillion Healthcare Industry
  • 2 days Lockheed Stock Soars On $480M Pentagon Contract
  • 2 days Ontario Moves To Slow Cannabis Drive
  • 2 days The Tech That Will Shape The Future Of Megaprojects
  • 2 days What Role Will The Saudis Play In Tesla's Private Listing?
  • 3 days Investors Flee Emerging Markets Amid Lira Crisis
  • 3 days Startup Aims To Attract Young Renters With Savvy Tech
  • 3 days The Last Frontier For Artificial Intelligence
  • 3 days EU Companies Struggle To Pick Sides In U.S.-Iran Dispute
  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

Retail Sales Unexpectedly Decline, Revisions Even Worse

There are several economic reports out today, none of them any good, especially retail sales, the most important of the reports.

Weakness was expected in this corner but not by those who still insist the economy is strengthening.

Retail sales declined 0.2% in March vs an Econoday consensus reading of 0.0%. Moreover, the Census Bureau revised February from +0.1% to -0.3%, and January from +0.6% to +0.5%.

Highlights

First-quarter consumer spending is in trouble. Retail sales fell 0.2 percent in March which is under the Econoday consensus for no change. Importantly, February sales are revised sharply lower, to minus 0.3 percent vs an initial gain of 0.1 percent.

Vehicle sales round out the quarter with a 3rd straight sharp decline at minus 1.2 percent. Sales at gasoline stations, due to lower prices, fell 1.0 percent. But when excluding both vehicles and gasoline, sales could only manage -- despite sky-high consumer confidence -- a second straight 0.1 percent increase.

Other areas of weakness include sporting goods which fell 0.8 percent and furniture stores which were down 0.3 percent. And two special areas of weakness are restaurants which fell 0.6 percent for a second straight decline and building materials which fell 1.5 percent. These last two components are excluded in the control group reading which, boosted by a 2.6 percent gain for electronics & appliances and supported by a 0.3 percent increase for general merchandise, rose an outsized 0.5 percent. But even here, February sales for the control group are revised 3 tenths lower and now stand at minus 0.2 percent.

There are plenty of bad luck wildcards for March including heavy weather and late tax refunds. But today's report also scales down what had already been a disappointing February. Total consumer spending (which includes services) came in with only 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent gains in the first two months of the year and today's February revision points to the same for February's retail sales component (note also that January retail sales are revised down 1 tenth to a 0.5 percent gain). Consumer spending makes up 70 percent of GDP and today's results, however much they may raise expectations for a snap back, are certain to lower expectations for the first quarter.


Advance Retail Sales

Advance Monthly Retail Sales
Larger Image

This is likely to be a bigger hit to GDP than the models expect. I will comment further later today. Meanwhile, not the absurd reference to “sky-high consumer confidence”. For discussion of sentiment, please see Econoday Parrot Squawks Again after Sentiment Rebounds to 17-Year High.

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment