August Retail Sales: Down 0.2% MoM, Worse Than Forecast

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for August released this morning showed a decrease over the July figures. Headline sales came in at -0.2% month-over-month to one decimal. Today's headline number was below the Investing.com consensus of 0.1%. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at 0.2% MoM. Figures were revised going back to June 2016.

Here is the introduction from today's report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $474.8 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, and 3.2 percent (±0.7 percent) above August 2016. Total sales for the June 2017 through August 2017 period were up 3.2 percent (±0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The June 2017 to July 2017 percent change was revised from up 0.6 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.3 percent (±0.1 percent).

Retail trade sales were down 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* from July 2017, and up 3.3 percent (±0.7 percent) from last year. Nonstore Retailers were up 8.4 percent (±1.6 percent) from August 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 7.5 percent (±1.9 percent) from last year.[view full report]

The chart below is a log-scale snapshot of retail sales since the early 1990s. The two exponential regressions through the data help us to evaluate the long-term trend of this key economic indicator.

Retail Sales Trends

The year-over-year percent change provides another perspective on the historical trend. Here is the headline series.

Retail Sales YoY

Core Sales

Here is the year-over-year version of Core Retail Sales.

Core Retail Sales YoY