United States: Retail sales drop most in nine months
April 12, 2013
In March, retail sales dropped 0.4% over the previous month in nominal terms. The reading came in below both the revised 1.0% expansion recorded in February (previously reported: +1.1% month-on-month) and market expectations that saw sales remaining unchanged from the previous month. In addition, the March outturn marked the worst result in nine months. Seven out of the 13 categories that compose the index dropped over the previous month in March, with sales at gasoline stations and electronics stores experiencing the largest losses.
Retail sales excluding autos and gas - a closely watched subcategory within the retail trade index - inched down 0.1% over the previous month. The reading contrasted both the revised 0.3% increase seen in February (previously reported: +0.4% mom) and market expectations of a 0.3% rise.
In annual terms, retail sales rose 2.8% in March, which is down from the 4.4% rise recorded in February and marks, in fact, the lowest rise in more than three years. As a result, the trend continues to point downwards, with annual average growth in retail sales falling to 4.3% from 4.6% in February.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect private consumption to grow 1.9% in 2013, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month's forecast. For 2014, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.7%.