Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
Total retail sales rose 0.3 percent in November, offsetting a 0.3 percent decline in October. Over the past 12 months, retail sales are up 3.7 percent. However, after excluding autos, sales have been flat over the past two months, despite increasing 3.3 percent over the past year. Sales performance was mixed across broad categories, though. For the most part, categories that exhibited gains in November were just reversing declines seen in October. The two exceptions were sales at general merchandise stores (which fell modestly in both periods) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales (which rose modestly in both periods). A less-volatile indicator of sales strength—“core” retail sales (which excludes sales of autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—jumped up 0.5 percent in November, following a roughly flat reading in October. Strong gains in September and November have helped push up the near-term growth trajectory in core sales. Its three-month annualized growth rate has improved from 2.0 percent back in August to 5.4 percent as of November. That said, its 12-month growth rate stands at 3.4 percent (roughly 1.5 percent after adjusting for inflation), well below its growth rate at the start of the year of 6.1 percent.