United States: Retail sales slow in November
December 14, 2016
Sales at U.S. retailers increased just 0.1% from the previous month in November, which marked a slowdown from the downwardly-revised 0.6% expansion in October (previously reported: +0.8% month-on-month). The Commerce Department’s retail sales, which are not adjusted for prices, also rose less than the 0.3% increase the markets had expected.
The report from the Department of Commerce showed that the results were mixed across categories, with gains observed in furniture, restaurants and electronics. Meanwhile, the core—or control group—retail sales, which excludes cars, gasoline and building materials, rose 0.2% in November, which came in below the previous month’s 0.5% rise.
On a year-on-year basis, retail sales decelerated from a 4.2% increase in October to a 3.8% expansion in November. Compared to the same month last year, sales at department stores continued to decline in November (-6.4%), whereas sales at non-store retailers—a proxy for e-commerce sales—showed another month of double-digit growth (+11.9%). This suggests that American consumers are increasingly opting to make purchases online.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist