US Retail Sales Climb More Than Expected On Rebound In Auto Sales

Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March

Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March

Sales at furniture stores climbed 0.7 percent while those at electronics and appliance stores increased 0.5 percent. Clothing stores suffered a 0.8 percent drop in sales in March, but were likewise up for the year, by 1.8 percent.

The data on Monday also showed that a decline in gasoline costs, as reported last week in the Labor Department's consumer-price index, may have weighed on filling-station receipts.

Washington, DC, April 16, 2018-Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2018 were $494.6 billion, an increase of 0.6% from the previous month, and 4.5% above March 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Without vehicle sales, the total retail sales gain for the month was 0.2 percent.

The higher spending could support GDP growth in the first quarter, which is expected to be sluggish.

The three-month moving average was up 4.8 percent over the same period a year ago, and the results come as NRF is forecasting that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017.

"This is a healthy spending report despite market volatility, unseasonable weather and uncertain economic policies", NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "The biggest risk to spending is in market fluctuations that could affect confidence, but we expect these basic improvements in economic fundamentals to continue". Sales at health and personal-care stores rose 1.4 percent, the most in two years.

Sales at gasoline stations declined 0.3% during March after growing 0.1% in February.

Meanwhile, sales dropped at building material & garden equipment supplies dealers, clothing and accessories stores and sporting goods hobby, books and music.

Grocery and beverage stores were up 5.9% year-over-year and up 0.2% from February.

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