Recent Updates

  • US: New Residential Sales, Final Building Permits (May)
  • Israel: LFS, Vacancy Rate (May); Turkey: Capacity Utilization (Jun); South Africa: Domestic Bond Holdings, Liquidations & Insolvencies (May); Algeria: CPI (May)
  • Cambodia: GDP (2017); China: Banking Assets and Liabilities, Central Government Operations (May), Central Government Debt (Q1); Taiwan: Visitor Arrivals, IP, Shipments and Inventories, Wholesale and Retail Sales (May); Vietnam: Motor Vehicle Sales (May); Singapore: CPI (May); Indonesia:
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Show Broad-Based Strength
by Tom Moeller  June 11, 2015

Overall retail sales including food services & drinking places during May strengthened 1.2% (1.0% y/y) following gains of 0.2% and 1.5%. The April and March results were revised up from little-change and 1.1%. The May increase matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales excluding autos improved 1.0% (-0.1% y/y) following an unrevised 0.1% April uptick and a 1.0% March gain, revised from 0.7%. The gain outpaced expectations for a 0.8% rise. During the last ten years, there has been a 92% correlation between the y/y change in retail sales and the change in real GDP. Sales in the retail control group exclude autos, gasoline, building materials & food services. They align with the consumer spending estimates in the GDP accounts. Sales in this grouping gained 0.7% (2.0% y/y) after a 0.1% April uptick and a 0.9% March increase, revised from no change and 0.5%, respectively.

A 2.0% jump in auto sales (5.0% y/y) bolstered the rise in overall retail spending. It followed a 0.7% increase and a 3.5% surge during the prior two months. The latest gain compares to a 7.8% improvement (6.3% y/y) in unit vehicle sales. Sales of building materials rose 2.1% (1.9% y/y) following a 0.4% decline. Sales of gasoline service station jumped 3.7% (-19.4% y/y) with higher prices after a 0.6% dip.

Sales of clothing and accessories improved 1.5% (2.3% y/y) after a slight decline. Nonstore retailers also showed strength with a 1.4% rise (6.0% y/y) on top of three months of strong improvement. General merchandise store sales followed with a 0.8% rise (-0.4% y/y) which made for a 0.7% April decline. Also on the list of strength was a 0.8% rise (7.5% y/y) in sporting goods store sales. Finally, furniture & home furnishing store sales added 0.8% (4.1% y/y) to earlier monthly increases of 1.3% and 2.4%. Restaurant & drinking place sales notched just 0.1% higher but they're up 7.8% y/y. Sales of electronics & appliance stores also ticked just 0.1% higher (-3.4% y/y) following seven months of decline.

In the nondiscretionary sales categories, health & personal care store sales fell 0.3% (+1.2% y/y) following a 0.4% increase. Food & beverage store sales improved 0.2% (2.3% y/y) and made up the prior month's decline.

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

Retail Spending (%) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total Retail Sales & Food Services 1.2 0.2 1.5 1.0 3.9 3.7 5.0
  Excluding Autos 1.0 0.1 1.0 -0.1 3.1 2.7 4.1
  Non-Auto Less Gasoline, Building Supplies & Food Services 0.7 0.1 0.9 2.0 3.3 2.7 3.6
Retail Sales 1.4 0.1 1.6 0.1 3.7 3.8 4.9
  Motor Vehicle & Parts 2.0 0.7 3.5 5.0 7.5 8.3 9.0
 Retail Less Autos 1.2 -0.0 1.1 -1.4 2.6 2.6 3.9
  Gasoline Stations 3.7 -0.6 1.1 -19.4 -2.7 -0.7 4.3
Food Service & Drinking Places Sales 0.1 1.1 0.8 7.8 6.2 3.4 5.9
close
large image