Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
Retail sales ticked up 0.1 percent in June, reversing a 0.1 percent decrease in May. The 3-month annualized growth rate in retail sales, which had been in double digits as recently as March, has now slipped down to 0.9 percent. Interestingly, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, which dipped down 1.8 percent in May, only partially rebounded in June (rising 0.8 percent). Retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts dealers were flat in June, and while its year-over-year growth rate is just a tenth under 8.0 percent, the 3-month annualized trend in the series stands at just 2.4 percent. Apart from autos, sales performance was mixed across broad categories in June. Sales at building material, garden equipment, and supplies dealers led the gainers, rising 1.3 percent in June. Sales at clothing stores rose 0.7 percent during the month, after a flat May. On the other hand, sales at gasoline stations fell 1.3 percent (likely as prices in June dipped). And notably, sales at furniture and home furnishing stores, electronics and appliance stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores all decreased for the third consecutive month. An alternative gauge of retail spending—“core” retail sales (sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—edged up just 0.1 percent in June, its smallest increase over the past six months. Importantly, its near-term (3-month annualized) growth rate, at 2.0 percent, is much weaker than its longer-run (12-month) growth rate of 5.5 percent, and appears to just be roughly keeping pace with underlying inflation.