United States: Retail sales exceed expectations in February
March 13, 2013
In February, retail sales increased 1.1% over the previous month in nominal terms. The reading came in above both the revised 0.2% expansion recorded in January (previously reported: +0.1% month-on-month) and market expectations of a 0.5% rise. In addition, the February outturn marked the fastest growth rate in five months. 8 out of the 13 categories that compose the index increased over the previous month in February, with sales at gasoline stations and miscellaneous store retailers experiencing the largest gains.
Retail sales excluding autos and gas - a closely watched subcategory within the retail trade index - rose 0.4% over the previous month. The reading came in above the revised 0.3% increase seen in January (previously reported: +0.2% mom) and was broadly in line with market expectations of a 0.3% rise.
In annual terms, retail sales increased 4.6% in February, which is above the 4.2% rise recorded in January. Despite the improvement seen in February, the trend continues to point downwards, with annual average growth in retail sales moderating to 4.7% from 4.8% in January.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect private consumption to grow 1.9% in 2013, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month's forecast. For 2014, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.7%.