Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
Retail sales posted a slight 0.1 percent gain in April, following a strong performance over the first three months of the year (averaging a 0.8 percent increase). On a year-over-year basis, retail sales are still up 6.4 percent, which is nearly double its 10-year annualized growth rate of 3.5 percent. Along with the preliminary monthly estimates, the Census Bureau included the results of its annual revision, which led to a knockdown in the March 2012 level of retail sales of roughly 0.9 percent. This revision suggests that the level of consumption in the upcoming July NIPA revision will get shaded downward. Turning back to the recent data, sales performance across broad industries in April was largely positive. Sales at nonstore retailers led the gainers, rising 1.1 percent in April. Robust sales were also reported at miscellaneous store retailers (up 0.8 percent) and at sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (up 0.7 percent). On the downside, sales at building material and supplies dealers slipped down 1.8 percent, though that was on the heels of a 2.7 percent gain in March. Also, sales at gasoline stations dipped 0.3 percent, but that was likely price-related. “Core” retail sales—a cleaner measure of consumer spending trajectory—which excludes autos, building supplies, and gas stations rose 0.4 percent in April, following a 0.5 percent increase in March. Over the last 3 months, core retail sales have risen at an annualized rate of 6.2 percent, in line with its longer-run (12 month) growth rate of 5.6 percent.