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United States Retail February 2024

United States: Retail sales rise in February

Retail sales grew 0.6% month-on-month in seasonally adjusted terms in February (January: -1.1% mom), below market expectations. The reading reflected a broad-based upturn, with activity in the motor vehicle and parts dealers, food and beverages and general merchandise stores sub-sectors all improving in February.

On an annual basis, retail sales rose 1.5% in February, which was notably better than January’s flat reading. Meanwhile, the trend pointed down, with the annual average growth of retail sales coming in at 2.4%, down from January’s 2.7% reading.

Coupled with a slight expansion in private consumption of goods and services in January, the February retail sales data—while slightly below expectations—suggests an ongoing solid expansion in household spending in Q1 as a whole, in line with our panelists’ forecasts.

TD Economics’ Shernette McLeod said:

“Higher borrowing costs and elevated prices are challenging households but spending is still being fueled by a robust job market and rising wages. However, as the labor market cools and wage gains abate, spending should moderate. With two months of data in for the quarter, consumer spending is currently tracking 2.7% q/q (annualized) for Q1.”

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