United States Retail

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United States: Retail sales soft in September

October 16, 2015

In September, retail sales increased 0.1% over the previous month, in nominal terms. The print was a modest improvement over the revised flat reading recorded in the previous month (previously reported: +0.2% month-on-month) and fell short of market expectations of a 0.2% increase. The result suggests that consumers’ contribution to economic growth in the third quarter may be weaker than initially thought. 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.

September’s result mainly reflects that solid growth in sales at motor vehicle dealers was largely offset by falling receipts at gasoline stations amid cheap gas prices.

Retail sales excluding cars and gas—a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index—registered no change in September over the previous month. The result undershot the 0.2% increase recorded in August.

Retail sales rose 2.4% in annual terms in September, which was above the 2.0% tallied in August. However, the annual trend declined, with annual average growth in retail sales falling from 2.9% in August to 2.7% in September.

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% which is also unchanged from last month’s forecast.

Author:, Economist

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United States Retail Chart

USA Retail September 2015

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

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