2017 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 4/14/2017 8:30:00 AM For Mar, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change0.1 %-0.3 %0.0 %-0.5 % to 0.3 %-0.2 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.2 %0.0 %0.2 %-0.2 % to 0.4 %0.0 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change0.2 %0.1 %0.3 %0.0 % to 0.4 %0.1 %
Control Group – M/M change0.1 %-0.2 %0.3 %0.2 % to 0.4 %0.5 %

Highlights
First-quarter consumer spending is in trouble. Retail sales fell 0.2 percent in March which is under the Econoday consensus for no change. Importantly, February sales are revised sharply lower, to minus 0.3 percent vs an initial gain of 0.1 percent.

Vehicle sales round out the quarter with a 3rd straight sharp decline at minus 1.2 percent. Sales at gasoline stations, due to lower prices, fell 1.0 percent. But when excluding both vehicles and gasoline, sales could only manage -- despite sky high consumer confidence -- a second straight 0.1 percent increase.

Other areas of weakness include sporting goods which fell 0.8 percent and furniture stores which were down 0.3 percent. And two special areas of weakness are restaurants which fell 0.6 percent for a second straight decline and building materials which fell 1.5 percent. These last two components are excluded in the control group reading which, boosted by a 2.6 percent gain for electronics & appliances and supported by a 0.3 percent increase for general merchandise, rose an outsized 0.5 percent. But even here, February sales for the control group are revised 3 tenths lower and now stand at minus 0.2 percent.

There are plenty of bad luck wildcards for March including heavy weather and late tax refunds. But today's report also scales down what had already been a disappointing February. Total consumer spending (which includes services) came in with only 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent gains in the first two months of the year and today's February revision points to the same for February's retail sales component (note also that January retail sales are revised down 1 tenth to a 0.5 percent gain). Consumer spending makes up 70 percent of GDP and today's results, however much they may raise expectations for a snap back, are certain to lower expectations for the first quarter.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Retail sales are once again expected to be held back by autos and otherwise show only moderate growth. The Econoday consensus is for no change at the headline level and up only 0.2 percent ex-auto. The ex-auto ex-gas reading is seen at 0.3 percent as is the control group. Heavy weather may have been a negative factor in the month.

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
 
 

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/132/153/154/145/126/147/148/159/1510/1311/1512/14
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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