2018 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 10/15/2018 8:30:00 AM For Sep, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change0.1 %0.6 %0.3 % to 0.8 %0.1 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.3 %0.2 %0.4 %0.1 % to 0.7 %-0.1 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change0.2 %0.1 %0.4 %0.1 % to 0.5 %0.0 %
Control Group – M/M change0.1 %0.0 %0.3 %0.2 % to 0.5 %0.5 %

Highlights
Retail sales at the headline level flopped badly in September in what for third-quarter GDP, however, may be a head fake as control group sales, which are inputs into personal consumption expenditures, rose solidly.

Total retail sales inched only 0.1 percent higher which is below Econoday's low estimate. Auto sales, perhaps boosted by replacement demand following Hurricane Florence's strike on the Carolinas, jumped 0.8 percent following a long run of poor results. Contracting sharply, however, were sales at gasoline stations, down 0.8 percent following a strong gain in August, and also restaurants which had been very strong in prior months but plunged 1.8 percent in what may be another hurricane effect.

When excluding restaurants and gasoline stations and also autos and building materials, control group sales actually rose 0.5 percent which is at the high end of expectations. Some of this strength is offset by a 1 tenth downward revision to August to no change but, with July holding at a very strong 0.8 percent gain, still keeps consumer spending alive for the third quarter.

Building materials were neutral in the report with only a 0.1 percent rise. Losers in the month were health & personal care stores, down 0.3 percent, and department stores at minus 0.8 percent. Gainers included nonstore retailers, up 1.1 percent and again reflecting strength for e-commerce, and also furniture stores which also rose 1.1 percent.

This is a mixed report but is probably best assessed by the year-on-year rate for control sales, which is unchanged at a strong 4.9 percent. Special factors and unusual swings aside, the consumer continues to contribute solidly to economic growth.

Consensus Outlook
A bounce-back 0.6 percent increase is the forecast for September retail sales which in August proved unexpectedly soft at only a 0.1 percent gain. Driven by possible replacement demand from Hurricane Florence, unit vehicle sales were very strong in September. Ex-autos may be the reading that best tracks underlying demand and a more moderate gain of 0.4 percent is the call vs August's 0.3 percent rise . Ex-autos ex-gas is at a consensus 0.4 percent gain in September with the consensus for control group sales at 0.3 percent.

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
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