United States Retail March 2016

United States

United States: Retail sales remain weak in March

April 13, 2016

In March, nominal retail sales fell 0.3% over the previous month. The result came in below the revised flat reading recorded in February and contrasted the 0.1% gain the markets had expected. 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.

The softness in March was the result of a contraction in sales of motor vehicles, which dropped 2.1% over the previous month, as well as in clothing and footwear. Conversely, sales at gasoline stations increased in March, partly helped by higher sales of gasoline.

Retail sales ex-autos, car parts and products sold in gas stations slowed from a revised 0.6% month-on-month increase in February (previously reported: +0.3% mom) to a 0.1% rise in March.

On an annual basis, retail sales decelerated notably, from a revised 3.7% increase in February (previously reported: +3.1% year-on-year) to a 1.7% expansion in March. The result marked the slowest pace since November 2015.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to grow 2.8% in 2016, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. For 2017, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.6%.

Author:, Senior Economist

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United States Retail Chart

USA Retail March 2016

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

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