2014 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 3/13/2014 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2014
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change-0.4 %-0.6 %0.2 %-0.1 % to 0.4 %0.3 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.0 %-0.6 %0.1 %-0.2 % to 0.3 %0.3 %
Retails Sales - $ level427.829 $ billions
Retails Sales less auto - $ level347.740 $ billions
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change-0.2 %0.5 %0.1 %-0.3 % to 0.4 %0.3 %

Highlights
Retail sales made a comeback in February but January was weaker than initially estimated. Weather is still a factor. Retail sales rebounded 0.3 percent in February after declining 0.6 percent in January (originally down 0.4 percent). The consensus projected 0.2 percent. Motor vehicle sales added lift, increasing 0.3 percent, following a 2.2 percent drop in January. Excluding motor vehicles, sales gained 0.3 percent after falling 0.3 percent in January. Market expectations were for a 0.1 percent rise. Gasoline sales were up only a marginal 0.1 percent after a 1.0 percent jump the month before. Retail sales excluding autos and gasoline increased 0.3 percent after declining 0.5 percent in January. Analysts projected a 0.1 percent gain.

In the core, strength in February was in sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores; nonstore retailers; health & personal care and furniture & home furnishings. A notable decline was only seen in miscellaneous store retailers although a few categories showed marginal decreases.

Interestingly, building materials & garden equipment rose 0.3 percent in February, following a gain of 1.4 percent the prior month. This may point to moderate strength in housing despite the weather.

Overall, we are still wading through weather effects which almost certainly weighed on first quarter growth-including the consumer sector.

Consensus Outlook
Retail sales have not been doing very well but it may be due to atypically adverse weather. Overall retail sales in January fell 0.4 percent in January, following a decrease of 0.1 percent in December. Autos pulled down the total. Motor vehicle & parts declined 2.1 percent, following a decrease of 1.8 percent in December. Excluding autos, sales were unchanged after gaining 0.3 percent the month before. Adverse weather discouraged consumers from going to auto dealers. Gas station sales increased 1.1 percent after jumping 1.5 percent in December. Excluding both autos and gasoline, sales slipped 0.2 percent after rising 0.1 percent in December. In the core, strength was seen in electronics & appliance stores; building materials & garden equipment; and grocery stores. Declines were seen in furniture & home furnishings; health & personal care; clothing; sporting goods, hobby, et al; department stores; nonstore retailers; and food services & drinking places. The big question is how much did weather affect February sales.

Definition
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
 
[Chart]
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
 
 

2014 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/142/133/134/145/136/127/158/139/1210/1511/1412/11
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