Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March


Commerce reported that March was up 0.6% compared to February at $494.6 billion and was up 4.5% compared to March 2017. It came in slightly above market projections of a rise of 0.4 percent.

Retail trade sales increased 0.6% from February and 4.7% from previous year.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.7% from February seasonally adjusted and up 4.1% year-over-year. Nonstore retailer sales are up 9.7% year-over-year as online retailers continue to grow their market share.

Spending at USA retailers rose broadly in March, rebounding after a weak start this year for consumer spending despite a solid labor market and growing worker paychecks.

In March, auto sales jumped 2.0 percent, the largest increase since last September, after declining 1.3 percent in February.

Read the Census release. March snapped a three-month stretch of sequential declines for monthly retail sales. Some also argue that income tax cuts, which came into effect in January, only reflected on most workers' paychecks in late February.

The higher spending could support GDP growth in the first quarter, which is expected to be sluggish.

Even with the bounceback, consumer spending probably expanded at a slower pace in the first quarter.

The other major winning retail category for the month was health and personal care stores, which spiked 1.4 percent compared with February. Gas-station sales dropped 0.3 percent, the most since July, according to the Commerce report. Bars and restaurants gained 0.4 per cent.

Sporting goods stores were down 0.9% year-over-year and down 1.8% from February seasonally adjusted.

While the stock market volatility has not yet impacted on consumer spending, it is chipping away at business confidence. The survey's measure of future business conditions dropped to a more than two-year low.