2018 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 3/14/2018 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change-0.3 %-0.1 %0.4 %0.1 % to 0.6 %-0.1 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.0 %0.1 %0.4 %0.2 % to 0.6 %0.2 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change-0.2 %-0.1 %0.4 %0.0 % to 0.6 %0.3 %
Control Group – M/M change0.0 %0.5 %0.1 % to 0.7 %0.1 %

Highlights
The big tax cut isn't being passed to the nation's retailers. Retail sales once again missed expectations badly, at minus 0.1 percent in February vs Econoday's consensus for a 0.4 percent gain and a low estimate for a 0.1 percent gain. The job market may be high and confidence near long-term time highs but the consumer is definitely not on a spending spree.

Department stores were especially weak in February, down 0.9 percent with furniture store sales also weak, down 0.8 percent and sales at health & personal care stores down 0.4 percent. What isn't a surprise is a 4th straight month of decline at vehicle dealers, down a very sharp 0.9 percent in a drop that re-emphasizes the effect of the spike in the hurricane season which pulled sales forward. Sales at gasoline stores are also a negative, down 1.2 percent with food sales down 0.1 percent.

Now the positives and these are led by nonstore retailers where sales, after a sharp January fall that followed a positive holiday season, jumped a monthly 1 percent. Building materials are also positive, up 1.9 percent that reverses a 1.7 percent decline in January. Restaurants are another positive but only barely at a 0.2 percent monthly gain which follows January's marginal 0.1 percent improvement.

But there really should be no alarm on the consumer as retail sales in fact remain positive, evident in the total year-on-year rate which is up 1 tenth to a respectable 4.0 percent with the control group up 3 tenths to 4.2 percent. Should spending on services continue to show strength, consumer spending can still post passable first-quarter results.

Consensus Outlook
After weak results in December and January, retail sales are expected to show some snap back in February with Econoday's consensus at a solid 0.4 percent. When excluding autos, where unit sales were flat in February, forecasters also see a 0.4 gain percent as they do when excluding both autos and also gasoline. When excluding autos, gas, food services and building materials, control group sales are expected to come in at a 0.5 percent gain.

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
 
 

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/122/143/144/165/156/147/168/159/1410/1511/1512/14
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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