Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March

Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March

Retail sales rebounded in March following two soft months, as consumers stepped up their spending on cars, home furnishings and appliances, the Commerce Department said Monday.

In March, auto sales jumped 2.0 percent, the largest increase since last September, after declining 1.3 percent in February.

The data on Monday also showed that a decline in gasoline costs, as reported last week in the Labor Department's consumer-price index, may have weighed on filling-station receipts. Without vehicle sales, the total retail sales gain for the month was 0.2 percent.

"Overall, consumer spending has been disappointing in 1Q18, which is partially weather-related, but today's report suggests the slowdown was transitory", said James Knightley, Chief International Economist at ING. Sales at non-store retailers grew 9.7 percent year-on-year, led by sound rises in online shopping. "The biggest risk to spending is in market fluctuations that could affect confidence, but we expect these basic improvements in economic fundamentals to continue".

Online retail sales increased 0.8 percent in March and have risen almost 10 percent compared to a year ago.

USA retail and food services sales in March came in at $494.6 billion, for an increase of 0.6 percent compared with February, the Census Bureau reported on Monday.

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Grocery and beverage stores were up 5.9% year-over-year and up 0.2% from February.

Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 6.1 percent year-over-year but down 0.8 percent from February seasonally adjusted.

Building materials and garden supply stores were up 3.8 percent year-over-year but down 0.6 percent from February seasonally adjusted.

Health and personal care stores were up 0.4% year-over-year and up 1.4% from February seasonally adjusted.

Sporting goods stores were down 0.9 percent year-over-year and down 1.8 percent from February seasonally adjusted.

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