United States: Retail sales steady in October as consumers pocket gas savings
November 13, 2015
In October, retail sales increased 0.1% over the previous month, in nominal terms. The print was slightly above the flat reading recorded last month, but fell short of market expectations of a 0.3% increase. The result suggests that consumers are continuing to spend but holding onto the money saved from cheaper gas prices. 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.
October’s result mainly reflects that solid growth in sales at building material stores and at health and personal care retailers 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—increased 0.3% in October over the previous month. The result was greater than the flat reading recorded in September.
Retail sales rose 1.7% in annual terms in October, which was below the 2.2% tallied in September. Moreover, the annual trend declined, with annual average growth in retail sales falling from 2.7% in September to 2.5% in October.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist