2014 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 6/12/2014 8:30:00 AM For May, 2014
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change0.1 %0.5 %0.6 %0.2 % to 0.9 %0.3 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.0 %0.4 %0.4 %-0.4 % to 0.6 %0.1 %
Retails Sales - $ level434.571 $ billions
Retails Sales less auto - $ level347.487 $ billions
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change-0.1 %0.3 %0.5 %0.3 % to 0.6 %0.0 %

Highlights
May retail sales disappointed but upward revisions to April numbers were partly offsetting. Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in May, following a 0.5 percent jump the month before (originally up 0.1 percent). Market expectations were for a 0.6 percent gain in May.

Strength was in motor vehicles which jumped 1.4 percent in May after a rise of 0.9 percent the prior month. Excluding motor vehicles sales edged up 0.1 percent, following a boost of 0.4 percent in April (originally flat). Forecasts were for 0.4 percent. Excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, sales were flat in May after a 0.3 percent increase the month before. Analysts expected 0.5 percent for May.

Outside of the core, strength was led by a 1.8 percent rebound in miscellaneous store retailers, following a 1.4 percent drop in April. Also, building materials & garden equipment, was up 1.1 percent after 1.9 percent. Furniture & home furnishings sale were healthy in May. These latter two components hint at improvement in housing starts.

Weakness in May was led by clothing & accessories which declined 0.6 percent but followed a 1.2 spike in April.

The latest report is not as disappointing as when just looking at the May headline number versus expectations. The April revisions are significantly upward. Also, the auto component came in far lower than the industry number for unit new motor sales-up a monthly 4.6 percent. The retail sales sample for autos is small and the BEA uses the industry number for PCEs and GDP. So, with upward revisions and strong motor vehicle sales, second quarter GDP still looks moderately healthy and the consumer sector is moderately healthy on average.

Consensus Outlook
Retail sales were soft in April and below expectations. But April followed two strong months-including an upwardly revised March. Retail sales edged up 0.1 percent, following a 1.5 percent jump in March (previously 1.2 percent including annual revisions) and a 0.9 percent increase in February. The revised March gain was the biggest since March 2010. Excluding motor vehicles, sales were flat after a 1.0 percent boost in March. Gasoline sales were up notably in April. Excluding autos and gasoline, retail sales slipped 0.1 percent after spiking 1.4 percent in March. Forecasts were for 0.5 percent.

Within the core, there were some bright spots. Department store sales jumped 1.8 percent with strength also seen in clothing & accessories, and health & personal care. A moderate rise in building materials & garden equipment is encouraging for housing after a large boost in March. Weakness was led by declines in electronics & appliance stores and miscellaneous store retailers.

More recently, motor vehicle sales jumped 4.6 percent in May, suggesting a strong headline number for retail 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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