U.S. Retail Sales – Apr 2018

Released Tuesday, May 15, 2018

downloadsRetail Sales: +0.3% month-over-month (Cons: +0.3%); +4.7% year-over-year
Core Retail Sales: +0.4% month-over-month (Cons: +0.4%); +3.9% year-over-year
Quick Take:
Retail sales were in line with economists’ expectations in April, rising +0.3% month-over-month. March headline retail sales were revised to a +0.8% month-over-month increase, up from +0.6% originally.

Headline retail sales were up +4.7% year-over-year as of April, down from +4.9% growth in March. Year-over-year growth has now been at or above +3.0% for 20 consecutive months.

Core retail sales increased +0.4% in April, in line with the consensus estimate. Year-over-year core retail sales growth was +3.9% in April, down from March’s +4.1% year-over-year growth. March core retail sales month-over-month growth was revised to +0.5% from +0.4% in last month’s estimate. February core retail sales were also revised higher to +0.1% from flat.

April’s retail sales data suggests that consumer spending maintained its trajectory from March. While motor vehicle and gasoline sales have caused some noise in the data in recent months, we note that core retail sales growth remains at a healthy level. The current 3.9% pace of year-over-year growth in core retail sales is above the average of 3.7% since the beginning of 2010.

Notable Data:
April gains were made in clothing stores (+1.4% month-over-month), furniture and home furnishing stores (+0.8% month-over-month), gasoline stations (+0.8% month-over-month), building materials stores (+0.4% month-over-month), and food and beverage stores (+0.4% month-over-month). Growth was negative at health and personal care stores (-0.4% month-over-month), electronics and appliance stores (-0.1% month-over-month), food services and drinking places (-0.3% month-over-month), and sporting goods stores (-0.1% month-over-month).

Spending at non-store retailers, which consists largely of e-commerce sales, rose +0.6% month-over-month in April and now makes up ~20% of core retail sales. Non-store retailer sales were up +9.6% year-over-year in April.