Retail sales rebound, consumer spending gains traction

WASHINGTON, Thu Dec 13, 2012 — Retail sales rose in November in a sign that steady job creation is adding momentum to consumer spending in the fourth quarter. Sales rose 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.5 percent. A separate measure of sales that strips out automobiles, gasoline and building materials rose a more healthy 0.5 percent. That reading more closely follows the government’s gauge of consumer spending, which is a major component of economic growth. These so-called core retail sales were flat in October, a slight upward revision from the previously reported decline of 0.1 percent. Economists had expected a 0.4 percent increase in core sales in November. The rise in overall sales was tempered by a 4 percent decline in receipts at gasoline stations, the biggest drop since December 2008. The Commerce Department said it had received indications from companies that superstorm Sandy had both positive and negative effects on November’s sales data. Motor vehicle sales rose 1.4 percent. Sales at electronics stores jumped 2.5 percent, while mail-order and Internet sales jumped 3 percent.

Retail sales sag as superstorm Sandy slows auto purchases

WASHINGTON, Wed Nov 14, 2012 – Retail sales fell in October for the first time in three months as superstorm Sandy slammed the brakes on automobile purchases, suggesting a loss of momentum in spending early in the fourth quarter.

Sales dipped 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, after an upwardly revised 1.3 percent increase in September that was previously reported as a 1.1 percent rise.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to fall 0.2 percent. The decline partly reflected the impact from superstorm Sandy, which lashed the densely populated East Coast – holding down auto sales.

The Commerce Department said it had received indications from companies that the storm had both positive and negative effects on October’s sales data.

Motor vehicle sales declined 1.5 percent, the largest fall since August last year, after increasing 1.7 percent in September. Auto manufacturers have blamed the storm for the drop in sales.

They expect auto sales to rebound in November. Automakers and dealers last week estimated that as many as a quarter million vehicles would end up in the scrap yard because of the storm.

Excluding autos, retail sales were unchanged last month after advancing 1.2 percent in September, the Commerce Department said.

The storm also likely dented sales at clothing stores, which dipped 0.1 percent after rising 0.4 percent the prior month.

Gasoline, autos boost retail sales in August

WASHINGTON, Fri Sep 14, 2012 – Retail sales rose for a second straight month in August, boosted by automobiles and high gasoline prices, but the underlying tone pointed to modest economic growth in the third quarter.

Retail sales increased 0.9 percent, the largest increase since February, the Commerce Department said on Friday, after a downwardly revised 0.6 percent rise in July that was previously reported as a 0.8 percent advance.

While the gain last month was above economists’ expectations for a 0.7 percent rise, details of the report pointed to an only modest increase in consumer spending this quarter after sluggish demand restricted the economy to a 1.7 percent annual growth pace in the April-June period.

That suggests third-quarter economic growth would still be insufficient to cut into high unemployment, which on Thursday prompted the Federal Reserve to launch a third round of bond purchases and push its pledge to hold interest rates near zero through at least mid-2015 from late 2014.

The rise in sales last month was led by gasoline stations, reflecting a 28 cents per gallon increase in the pump price. Gasoline sales surged 5.5 percent, the largest increase since November 2009, after rising 0.4 percent in July.

Automobile sales increased 1.3 percent, the most since February, after gaining 0.1 percent in July.

Excluding gasoline and autos, retail sales edged up 0.1 percent after rising 0.8 percent the prior month.

Retail sales fall for third straight month in June

WASHINGTON – Retail sales fell for a third straight month in June as demand slumped for everything from cars and electronics to building materials, a sign the economic recovery is flagging.
Retail sales slipped 0.5 percent, the Commerce Department said.
It was the first time sales had dropped in three consecutive months since late 2008, when the economy was still mired in a deep recession. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to rise 0.2 percent.
The report adds to a spate of weak economic data that is raising pressure on President Barack Obama ahead of his November reelection bid. Republican challenger Mitt Romney is focusing his campaign on the weak economy that has plagued Obama’s presidency.
The report could raise hopes that the Federal Reserve could launch another bond-buying program to help the economy.
Job creation in the United States has slowed dramatically in the last few months, and recently the country’s factory sector also showed signs of contraction.
The retail data is particularly worrisome because it suggests consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of the economy, is also sagging.

Retail sales rise 0.4 percent in January after being flat in December

WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in January as consumers cut back on car purchases and did less online shopping.

Total retail sales increased 0.4 percent after being flat in December, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales climbing 0.7 percent last month.

The government had initially estimated that sales rose 0.1 percent in December, and on Tuesday it also revised downward its reading for retail sales in November. The revisions suggest consumers did not spend as much as previously thought during the holiday shopping season.

Sales of cars and autoparts dropped 1.1 percent, while shopping at nonstore retailers, a category dominated by online sales, also fell 1.1 percent, the biggest decline since March 2009.

Fueling the overall increase in retail sales during January, spending at gasoline stations rose 1.4 percent – the biggest gain since March 2011 – while receipts for electronics increased 0.5 percent.

Excluding autos, retail sales advanced 0.7 percent, falling short of analysts’ expectations of a 0.5 percent increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline and building materials, climbed 0.7 percent in January.

Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government’s gross domestic product report.

Retail sales beat expectations in October; signs indicate some vigor

WASHINGTON ― Retail sales rose more than expected in October as strong receipts from motor vehicle and building material dealers offset the drag from service stations, suggesting the economy started the fourth quarter with some vigor.

Total retail sales increased 0.5 percent, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday, after rising by an unrevised 1.1 percent in September. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales climbing 0.3 percent last month. In the 12 months to October, retail sales were up 7.2 percent.

While October’s retail sales report showed broad gains, weak income growth remains a constraint.

Consumer spending — which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity — rose at its fastest pace in nearly a year in the third quarter. But households are significantly cutting back on saving to fund their spending.

Retail sales last month rose as receipts from motor vehicle dealers increased 0.4 percent, adding to the prior month’s 4.2 percent gain. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.6 percent, the largest increase in seven months, after advancing 0.5 percent in September.

Sales at food and beverage stores increased 1.1 percent, while receipts at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores gained 1.3 percent. Sales of electronics and appliances soared 3.7 percent, while receipts from building material retailers increased 1.5 percent.

But clothing store sales fell 0.7 percent last month, the largest decline since December 2010, while furniture sales declined 0.7 percent.

Receipts at gasoline stations fell 0.4 percent last month after rising 0.7 percent. The decline reflects weak gasoline prices. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gasoline prices fell 4.39 percent or 16 cents to $3.506 a gallon in October. Excluding gasoline, retail sales rose 0.7 percent.

Weak gasoline prices, combined with subsiding inflation pressures should ease the burden on stretched household budgets and support holiday shopping.

Core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline and building materials, rose 0.7 percent in October after advancing0.5 percent the prior month.

Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government’s gross domestic product report.