Retail sales rebound in sign consumer weakness fading

Jeannie Matthews
April 16, 2018

"Consumers continue to show resiliency in spending, and these numbers reflect how the economy is performing with a strong job market, gains in wages, improvements in confidence, rising home value and judicious use of credit". Gasoline station sales are up 9.7% since March 2017.

Compared to the same month a year ago, retail sales were up by 4.5 percent in March compared to the 4.1 percent year-over-year increase in February.

Consumers snapped up electronics, shopped online and frequented bars and restaurants, but sales sagged at department stores, gas stations and clothing outlets, according to the Commerce Department report.

With auto sales rebounding strongly, the Commerce Department released a report on Monday showing retail sales in the US increased by more than anticipated in the month of March. For the year, that category enjoyed an increase of 0.8 percent in sales.

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Retail sales rebounded in March following two soft months, as consumers stepped up their spending on cars, home furnishings and appliances, the Commerce Department said Monday.

The higher spending could support GDP growth in the first quarter, which is expected to be sluggish. The market analysts are looking for consensus of 0.4% increase compared to a decline of 0.1% in the prior month. The March results build on improvement seen in February, which was up 0.2% over January and 4.3% year over year.

Meanwhile, sales dropped at building material & garden equipment supplies dealers, clothing and accessories stores and sporting goods hobby, books and music. March snapped a three-month stretch of sequential declines for monthly retail sales.

"This is a healthy spending report despite market volatility, unseasonable weather and uncertain economic policies", NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement.

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