Retail Sales Rise on Gasoline Prices

Monday, April 14, 2008 | 10:13 AM

Adv10308

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Real Retail sales dropped in March, driven lower primarily by durable goods and automobiles.

Nominal sales -- non-inflation adjusted retail sales -- surprised to the upside. The 0.2% gains were due mostly to increases in essentials -- food, gasoline, and heating oil.  Sales at Gasoline store were up 1.1 %, while food & beverage stores up 0.4%; nonstore retailers (home heating oil) was also strong. Outside of these basics, Consumer spending was less strong. Declines were in building materials (down 1.6%), and general merchandise (down 0.6%).

On a year-on-year basis, March Retail sales softened to +2.0% from +2.9% last month.

Bottom line: What little strength we saw last month was narrowly based, and due due to higher prices. In real terms, sales were negative. The impact of Retail Sales on Q1 GDP will be to pull it down further.


Retail_sales_march_08

chart courtesy of Barron's Econoday



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Sources:
ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL TRADE AND FOOD SERVICES FOR MARCH 2008
MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2008, AT 8:30 A.M. EDT
http://www.census.gov/marts/www/retail.html

ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES 4.14.08 .pdf
April 14 Release
http://www.census.gov/marts/www/marts_current.pdf

Related:
U.S. Retail Sales Rise on Gain in Gasoline Purchases
Bob Willis
Bloomberg, April 14 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aGV74CnL6F7Y&

Monday, April 14, 2008 | 10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
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Comments

Consumers are slow to adjust, but they will. By and large, the house ATM is shutting down, but the credit cards still work-that will change. Two years ago it was hard to get denied a card and good credit got you a 30k limit. Now, you get a 10k limit. Many people continue to spend beyond their means-denial is powerful-but reality always wins in the end.

Retail sales will continue to fall, probably at an accelerating rate.

Posted by: Rich Shinnick | Apr 14, 2008 11:13:17 AM

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