Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
Retail sales increased 1.1 percent in February and have increased 6.5 percent on a year-over-year basis. There were also upward revisions to the reading for both December (from flat to a 0.3 percent increase) and January (from a 0.4 percent to a 0.6 percent increase). After a large jump in December (2.6 percent) and a drop off in January (1.6 percent), auto sales were up a bit in February, increasing 1.6 percent. Retail sales excluding the auto sector were up 0.9 percent in February after a 1.1 percent increase in January, and are up 6.4 percent over last February. This pulled the near-term (3-month) growth rate up from 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent. Contributing to the gains in both retail sales and retail sales excluding the auto industry, sales for gasoline stations jumped up in February with an increase of 3.3 percent (likely price related) following a 1.9 percent increase in January. The impact of the increase in gas station sales on the total can be seen by looking at the “core” retail sales, which excludes autos, building supplies and gas stations. “Core” retail sales were up only 0.4 percent in February after an increase of 1.0 percent in January. The near-term growth rate for “core” retail sales increased from 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent. Other sectors that saw the strongest sales gains in February were building materials, garden equipment, and supply dealers (1.4 percent increase), clothing and accessory stores (1.8 percent increase), electronics and appliance stores (1.0 percent increase), and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (1.0 percent increase). Sectors that saw decreases in February were furniture and home furnishing stores (1.2 percent decrease) and general merchandise stores (0.1 percent decrease).