United States: Retail sales rebound in February
March 13, 2014
In February, retail sales increased 0.3% over the previous month in nominal terms. The print contrasted the 0.6% drop recorded in January (previously reported: -0.4% month-on-month) and slightly beat market expectations of a 0.2% rise. The rebound suggests that the economy did in fact emerge from a period of unseasonably cold weather with some strength. Nine of the thirteen categories included in the retail index increased over the previous month. Clothing retailers, sporting goods stores and non-store retailers recorded the largest gains. Retail sales excluding cars and gas-a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index-increased 0.3% over the previous month in February. The reading contrasted the 0.5% fall registered in January (previously reported: -0.2% mom) and just barely overshot market expectations of a 0.2% increase. Retail sales rose 1.5% compared to the same month last year and came in below the revised 1.9% increase recorded in January (previously reported: +2.6% year-on-year). The annual trend continues to point downward, with annual average growth in retail sales falling from 4.1% in January to 3.8% in February. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to grow 2.5% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's forecast. For 2015, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.7%.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist