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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Gains Are Disappointing
by Tom Moeller  July 15, 2014

Retail and food service sales nudged 0.2% higher (4.3% y/y) during June following a 0.5% May rise, revised from 0.3%. A 0.6% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of motor vehicles & parts fell 0.3% (6.4% y/y) following strong gains during the prior four months. Outside of auto dealer showrooms sales posted a mixed performance. Nonauto sales less gasoline & building materials gained 0.4% (3.7% y/y) after an upwardly revised 0.4% increase. A 0.5% rise had been expected.

In other discretionary spending categories, sales of building materials & garden equipment dropped 1.0% (+3.7% y/y) following a 0.6% rise while electronics & appliance store sales fell 0.1% for the second consecutive month (+2.6% y/y). Restaurant sales fell 0.3% (+5.6% y/y) after an upwardly revised 0.9% gain. Sales of furniture & appliances were unchanged (1.9% y/y) after a 0.4% fall. To the upside, general merchandise store sales increased 1.1% (3.4% y/y) following a 0.1% slip. Sales of nonstore retailers gained 0.9% (8.1% y/y), improving on a 0.6% rise. Clothing & accessory store sales moved 0.8% higher (2.9% y/y) after a 0.5% rise and sporting goods sales recovered 0.6% (-2.0% y/y) after a 0.5% drop. Sales of electronics & appliances ticked up 0.1% (1.3% y/y) after declines of roughly 0.7% during the prior two months.

In the nondiscretionary spending categories, sales at health & personal care stores gained 0.9% (7.9% y/y), about the same as during the prior four months. Food & beverage stores increased 0.4% (2.5% y/y) following an upwardly revised 0.3% rise while gasoline service station sales increased 0.3% (0.6% y/y) after an upwardly revised 0.7% rise.

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

Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress from the Federal Reserve Board is available here.

Retail Spending (%) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total Retail Sales & Food Services 0.2 0.5 0.6 4.3 4.2 5.1 7.5
  Excluding Autos 0.4 0.4 0.6 3.7 3.0 4.2 6.9
  Non-Auto Less Gasoline & Building Supplies 0.5 0.3 0.3 4.2 3.3 4.0 5.4
Retail Sales 0.3 0.4 0.7 4.1 4.3 5.0 7.6
  Motor Vehicle & Parts -0.3 0.8 0.8 6.4 9.3 9.1 9.9
 Retail Less Autos 0.5 0.3 0.7 3.4 3.0 4.0 7.1
  Gasoline Stations 0.3 0.7 1.3 0.6 -0.4 4.2 18.3
Food Service & Drinking Places Sales -0.3 0.9 -0.3 5.6 3.0 5.9 6.0
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