Retail Sales Down 0.3% in May, Worse Than Forecast

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for May was released this morning. Headline sales came in at -0.27% month-over-month to two decimals and was below the forecast of 0.2%. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at 0.52% MoM.

Here is the introduction from today's report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May 2022, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $672.9 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, but 8.1 percent (±0.7 percent) above May 2021. Total sales for the March 2022 through May 2022 period were up 7.7 percent (±0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The March 2022 to April 2022 percent change was revised from up 0.9 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.7 percent (±0.2 percent).

Retail trade sales were down 0.4 percent (±0.4 percent)* from April 2022, but up 6.9 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Gasoline stations were up 43.2 percent (±1.6 percent) from May 2021, while food services and drinking places were up 17.5 percent (±4.0 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.