February Retail Sales: Down 0.1% MoM, Worse Than Forecast
The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for February was released this morning. Headline sales came in at -0.1% month-over-month to one decimal. Today's headline number was below the Investing.com consensus of 0.3%. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at 0.2% MoM. December figures were revised.
Here is the introduction from today's report:
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February 2018, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $492.0 billion, a decrease of 0.1 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, but 4.0 percent (±0.7 percent) above February 2017. Total sales for the December 2017 through February 2018 period were up 4.3 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The December 2017 to January 2018 percent change was revised from down 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* to down 0.1 percent (±0.3 percent)*.
Retail trade sales were down 0.1 percent (±0.5 percent)* from January 2018, but 4.2 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Nonstore Retailers were up 10.1 percent (±1.4 percent) from February 2017, while Gasoline Stations were up 7.9 percent (±1.6 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.
The year-over-year percent change provides another perspective on the historical trend. Here is the headline series.
Here is the year-over-year version of Core Retail Sales.