2012 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 9/14/2012 8:30:00 AM For Aug, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change0.8 %0.6 %0.8 %0.3 % to 1.5 %0.9 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.8 %0.8 %0.3 % to 1.5 %0.8 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change0.9 %0.8 %0.4 %0.3 % to 0.8 %0.1 %

Despite a strong headline number, underlying retail sales turned soft in August. Total retail sales in August gained 0.9 percent after a 0.6 percent boost the prior month (originally up 0.8 percent).

Motor vehicle sales jumped 1.3 percent after a 0.1 percent rise in July.

Ex-auto sales increased 0.8 percent, following a 0.8 percent advance in July (originally up 0.8 percent). Gasoline prices played a big role in lifting retail sales. Gasoline station sales surged 5.5 percent in August, following a 0.4 percent rise in July. However, excluding both autos and gasoline components, sales edged up only 0.1 percent, following a 0.8 percent spike in July (originally up 0.9 percent).

Core components were mixed with strength in building materials and food services & drinking places. Weakness was led by electronics & appliance stories and general merchandise.

Retail sales on a year-ago basis in August came in at up 4.7 percent, compared to 3.9 percent in July. Excluding motor vehicles, sales were up 3.4 percent on a year-on-year basis, compared to 3.2 percent in July.

After taking into account price effects, retail sales were soft in August. However, some of the sluggish may be simply coming off a strong July. But to keep spending healthy, it still is going to take stronger job growth.

Consensus Outlook
Retail sales in July rose 0.8 percent for the strongest rise since February with ex-auto sales also up 0.8 percent for, again, the best showing since February. Ex-auto ex-gas, the gain was 0.9 percent for the best showing since January. All major components showed gains including motor vehicles, general merchandise, health & personal care, furniture, and restaurants. Clothing also shows a significant gain, one that points to strength for the back-to-school season.

Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. Sales are by retail and food services stores. Data are collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Essentially, retail sales cover the durables and nondurables portions of consumer spending. Consumer spending typically accounts for about two-thirds of GDP and is therefore a key element in economic growth.  Why Investors Care
Nearly 75 percent of the time, changes in monthly retail sales are between +1 percent and -1 percent. However, there are many months in which the monthly change falls outside that range. Most of the time, excessive increases or decreases are due to higher/lower spending on motor vehicle sales. Year-over-year changes in retail sales can be volatile as well, but tend to be smoother than monthly changes.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/122/143/134/165/156/137/168/149/1410/1511/1412/13
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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