United States: Retail sales accelerate in August
September 14, 2012
In August, retail sales expanded 0.9% over the previous month in nominal terms. The figure exceeded both the revised 0.6% expansion recorded in July (previously reported: +0.8% month-on-month) as well as market expectations, which had anticipated retail sales adding 0.8% over the previous month. Eight out of the 13 subcategories composing the index expanded in August, with sales at gasoline stations recording the largest gains. Retail sales excluding autos and gas - a closely watched subcategory within the retail trade index - added a milder 0.1% over the previous month (July: +0.9% month-on-month), undershooting market expectations of a 0.4% increase. In annual terms, retail sales increased 4.7% in August, up from the 3.9% expansion recorded in July. Nevertheless, the trend continues to point down, with annual average growth in retail sales moderating from 6.4% in July to 6.1%. 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.