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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Gain is Strongest Since June
by Tom Moeller  December 12, 2013

Retail sales gained strength during November as new cars were bought and as consumers dined out more. Retail spending firmed 0.7% (4.7% y/y) following a 0.6% October advance, revised up from 0.4%. A 0.6% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of motor vehicles & parts led the increase with a 1.8% gain (10.2% y/y). Sales at food service & drinking places weren't far behind and posted a 1.3% advance  (5.2% y/y). Nonauto retail sales rose 0.6% (4.4% y/y) after a 0.8% October rise. A 0.2% improvement had been expected.

Sales of nonstore retailers jumped 2.2% (9.4% y/y) and added to the strong gains of the prior two months. Building materials sales followed with a 1.8% advance (5.3% y/y) which recouped a 1.5% October drop. Furniture & electronics/appliance store sales jumped 1.1% (8.2% y/y) following a 2.2% October surge.

To the weak side were general merchandise store sales which ticked 0.1% higher (1.2% y/y) following a 0.3% advance. Clothing & accessory stores sales were off 0.2% (+4.1 y/y) after a 2.6% October spike. Also lower were food & beverage store sales by 0.1% for a second month (+2.6% y/y). Lower prices depressed sales at gasoline service stations by 1.1% (3.3% y/y), down for the third month in the last four.

The retail sales figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNAdatabase. 

Retail Spending (%) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Retail Sales & Food Services 0.7 0.6 0.1 4.7 5.3 7.5 5.5
  Excluding Autos 0.4 0.5 0.4 3.5 4.8 7.0 4.5
  Non-Auto Less Gasoline & Building Supplies 0.6 0.8 0.4 4.4 4.8 5.5 3.5
Retail Sales 0.6 0.5 0.0 4.6 5.0 7.7 5.8
  Motor Vehicle & Parts 1.8 1.1 -1.1 12.2 7.5 10.1 10.6
 Retail Less Autos 0.3 0.3 0.4 3.2 4.4 7.1 4.6
  Gasoline Stations -1.1 -0.4 0.2 -3.3 4.0 18.4 14.6
Food Service & Drinking Places Sales 1.3 1.4 0.6 5.2 7.2 6.0 3.2
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