March Retail Sales Rose 4.5% YOY

Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March

March Retail Sales Rose 4.5% YOY

The three-month moving average was up 4.8% over the same period a year ago, and the results come as NRF is forecasting that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8% and 4.4% over 2017.

Economists are expecting a bounce back in the March data via a +0.4% m/m reading and +0.3% on the control group.

Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.6% year-over-year and up 0.5% from February seasonally adjusted. The results reinforce a Federal Reserve prediction that the declines were transitory, following increased spending after two hurricanes that struck the United States a year ago.

"In short, a solid gain, but if anything a bit weaker in the key details than generally expected", said Jim O'Sullivan, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.

Personal consumption and retail spending had disappointed analysts in recent months, feeding expectations the USA economy will see slower growth in the first quarter of the year.

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The increase followed a 0.1 percent drop in February, which was the third of three consecutive months of decline. That's more than double the overall retail sales gain in the past 12 months of 4.5 percent. For the year, that category enjoyed an increase of 0.8 percent in sales.

Consumer optimism is high due to factors like job market strength, rising wages, lower taxes and the receipt of tax refunds. Gasoline station sales are up 9.7% since March 2017.

Among the brightest spots in Monday's report was auto sales, which jumped 2 percent, the most in six months.

O'Sullivan estimates that consumer spending grew at just a 1 percent annual pace in the first quarter. "People were so built up on the economy and tax cuts, but our view is that it's more steady than acceleration".

Gasoline station sales on the other hand dipped by 0.3%, while those of clothing and accessories decreased by 0.8% and those at sporting goods stores fell by 1.8%. Gas-station sales dropped 0.3 percent, the most since July, according to the Commerce report.

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