United States Retail

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United States: Retail sales recover in March after winter slump

April 14, 2015

In March, growth in retail sales increased 0.9% over the previous month, in nominal terms. The print contrasted the 0.5% decrease recorded in February but undershot market expectations of a 1.1% increase. March’s result marked the first positive result after a string of three monthly contractions due in large part to the harsh winter weather. March’s result was driven by an increase in sales at motor vehicle dealers, building material and garden supply stores, and at department stores. Retail sales are a good indicator for 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.

Retail sales excluding cars and gas—a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index—increased 0.5% in March over the previous month. The result contrasted the 0.3% decrease recorded in February and just beat the 0.4% increase expected by the market.

Retail sales rose 1.3% in annual terms in March, which came in below the 1.9% tallied in February. Moreover, the annual trend decline, with annual average growth in retail sales falling from January’s 4.1% to 3.9%.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to grow 2.9% in 2015, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2016, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.7%.

Author:, Economist

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United States Retail Chart

USA Retail March 2015

Note: Month-on-month and year-on-year variation of nominal retail sales in %.
Source: United States Census Bureau

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