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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Weaken Further
by Tom Moeller  July 16, 2012

For the first time since 2008, retail sales fell for a third consecutive month. During June, retail sales declined 0.5% after an unrevised 0.2% May slip. April's decline was revised to -0.5% from -0.2%. A 0.1% uptick in June sales was expected according to Action Economics. Sales declined across-the-board last month. Auto sales fell 0.6% (-7.3% y/y) compared to a 2.2% (21.8% y/y) increase in unit sales reported earlier this month. Excluding autos, retail sales fell 0.4%, down for the third successive month. Expectation were for no change.

Notable weakness in sales overall was provided by building materials, off 1.6% (+0.6% y/y) last month and off sharply for three successive months. Also, lower gasoline prices caused a 1.8% decline (+0.1% y/y) rise in purchases at service stations. Less autos, building materials and gasoline, retail sales slipped 0.1% in June. The 3.2% y/y increase is half the gain during 2011.

Discretionary spending weakened last month as indicated by a 0.8% drop (+7.8% y/y) in furniture & home furnishing sales while electronics & appliance store sales also fell 0.8% (-1.0% y/y). General merchandise sales fell 0.2% (-0.3% y/y), the third consecutive month of decline. Also to the downside by 0.7% (+0.6% y/y) were health & personal care store sales. Food service & drinking place sales also were down 0.2% (+6.3% y/y). Sales of apparel rose 0.2% (3.5% y/y) while food & beverage store sales rose 0.1% (2.5%).    

The retail sales figure are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNA database.

 

Retail Spending % Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Retail Sales & Food Services -0.5 -0.2 -0.5 3.8 8.0 5.5 -7.1
  Excluding Autos -0.4 -0.4 -0.6 3.0 7.4 4.5 -5.7
Retail Sales -0.5 -0.2 -0.6 3.5 8.2 5.8 -7.9
  Motor Vehicle & Parts -0.6 0.8 -0.2 7.3 10.9 10.8 -13.9
 Retail excluding Autos -0.5 -0.4 -0.7 2.5 7.6 4.7 -6.4
  Gasoline Stations -1.8 -2.0 -1.7 0.1 17.8 14.7 -22.0
 Non-Auto Less Gasoline -0.3 -0.1 -0.6 3.0 5.9 3.2 -3.4
Food Service -0.2 -0.3 0.4 6.3 5.9 3.2 -0.9
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