United States: Retail sales disappoint at close of 2015
January 15, 2016
In December, retail sales decreased 0.1% over the previous month, in nominal terms. The print contrasted the 0.4% increase recorded in November, and was below market expectations of a flat reading. The result suggests that consumers are holding onto the money saved from cheaper gas prices rather than boosting spending. Retail sales are a good indicator of the evolution of consumer spending, a key part of economic growth in the United States, as it accounts for over two thirds of overall GDP.
November’s result mainly reflects falling sales at gas stations, general merchandise stores and clothing retailers.
Retail sales excluding cars and gas—a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index—were unchanged in December over the previous month. The result was below than the 0.5% increase recorded in November.
Retail sales rose 2.2% in annual terms in December, which was above the 1.6% tallied in November. Moreover, the annual trend declined slightly, with annual average growth in retail sales moderating from 2.2% in November to 2.1% in December.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist