2017 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 6/14/2017 8:30:00 AM For May, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change0.4 %0.1 %-0.2 % to 0.4 %-0.3 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.3 %0.4 %0.2 %-0.2 % to 0.5 %-0.3 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change0.3 %0.5 %0.3 %0.1 % to 0.5 %0.0 %
Control Group – M/M change0.2 %0.6 %0.3 %0.2 % to 0.4 %0.0 %

Highlights
Consumer spending was unusually weak in the first quarter and doesn't look to be improving this quarter. Retail sales fell 0.3 percent in May vs Econoday's consensus for a 0.1 percent gain. Weakness riddles the report including a 1.0 percent drop for department stores, a 0.2 percent decline for autos, and a 0.1 percent dip for restaurants. Two readings that echo price contraction in this morning's consumer price report are gasoline stations, down 2.4 percent, and electronics & appliances stores, down 2.8 percent as phone prices continue to come down.

Other readings are likewise very weak, at minus 0.3 percent excluding autos and no change when excluding both autos and gasoline. Control group sales are also unchanged (this excludes autos, building materials, gasoline and restaurants).

Wages aren't showing any traction and neither is consumer spending. The consumer just hasn't been participating this year and will need to accelerate very quickly otherwise second-quarter GDP is in jeopardy. Yet expectations seem fixed that the Fed, despite consumer weakness and despite inflation weakness, is determined to raise rates at today's FOMC.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Weakness in consumer spending has been perhaps 2017's most important economic theme, reflecting low wages and belying high levels of employment and strong consumer confidence. April was supposed to have been a big bounce back month for retail sales but only moderate gains were posted. Lack of punch is also expected for May with headline retail sales seen up only 0.1 percent following April's 0.4 percent gain. Vehicle sales look to have been weak to flat in May with ex-auto retail sales also at a consensus gain of 0.2 percent vs 0.3 percent in April. Gas station sales are also expected to be weak to flat making for a slightly more solid ex-auto ex-gas consensus gain of 0.3 percent, which would be unchanged from May's 0.3 percent. Control group sales are expected to rise 0.3 percent vs April's slim 0.2 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
 
 

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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