Retail Sales Dip 0.4% in February After Strong January

This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was improved upon and updated by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for February was released this morning. Headline sales came in slightly below forecast at -0.4% month-over-month. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at -0.1% month-over-month, in line with the forecast.

Here is the introduction from today's report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February 2023, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $697.9 billion, down 0.4 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, but up 5.4 percent (±0.7 percent) above February 2022. Total sales for the December 2022 through February 2023 period were up 6.4 percent (±0.4 percent) from the same period a year ago. The December 2022 to January 2023 percent change was revised from up 3.0 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 3.2 percent (±0.3 percent).

Retail trade sales were down 0.1 percent (±0.5 percent)* from January 2023, but up 4.0 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Food services and drinking places were up 15.3 percent (±2.6 percent) from February 2022, while general merchandise stores were up 10.5 percent (±0.2 percent) from last year.