United States: Retail sales expand for third straight month
October 16, 2012
In September, retail sales expanded 1.1% over the previous month in nominal terms. The reading came in a notch below the revised 1.2% increase tallied in August (previously reported: +0.9% month-on-month) but overshot market expectations, which had anticipated retail sales would rise a milder 0.7%. Among the 13 categories that compose the index, 12 expanded in September, with sales of electronic and appliances as well as sales in gasoline stations recording the largest gains. Retail sales excluding autos and gas - a closely watched subcategory within the retail trade index - added 0.9% over the previous month (August: +0.3% mom), exceeding market expectations of a 0.5% increase. In annual terms, retail sales increased 5.4%, which was up from the 5.0% expansion recorded in August. Nevertheless, the trend continues to point downwards, with annual average growth in retail sales moderating from 6.1% in August to 5.8% in September. 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.