United States: Retail sales jump in February
March 13, 2012
In February, retail sales increased 1.1% over the previous month in nominal terms. The rise nearly doubled the revised 0.6% expansion recorded in January (previously reported: +0.4% month-on-month) but came in virtually in line with market expectations of a 1.2% increase. 11 out of the 13 sub-categories composing the index expanded in February, with sales at gasoline stations as well as sales of motor vehicles recording the largest gains. Meanwhile, retail sales excluding autos and gas ? a closely watched sub-category within the retail trade index ? added a softer 0.6% over the previous month (January: +1.0% mom), which was just in line with market expectations. Overall retail sales increased 6.5% in annual terms, up from the 6.3% expansion recorded in January. That said, the trend is pointing down, with annual average growth in sales inching down from 7.6% in January to 7.4% in February. Retail sales are a good indicator for the evolution of consumer spending in the United States, a key part of economic growth, as it accounts for over two thirds of overall GDP.