Publicado: Mar, Abril 17, 2018
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

Retail sales see varying gains in March, says Commerce and NRF data

Retail sales see varying gains in March, says Commerce and NRF data

The numbers: Sales at USA retailers rose 0.6% in March to end a streak of three straight declines, the Commerce Department reported Monday (, underscoring the improved financial picture of American households and the resiliency of an economic expansion that could turn out to be the longest ever.

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

Discussions into reopening trade of pork between the USA and Argentina began previous year as the import of USA pork into Argentina had been prohibited since 1992 - a de facto ban initiated by Argentina due to worries over parasite contamination of outdoor-reared pigs.

Excluding the volatile auto sector, sales were up 0.2 percent, matching an analyst forecast and the same increase recorded in February.

"It's nice to see the bounce-back here - to me it's just on trend", Societe Generale senior USA economist Omair Sharif said.

Eight of 13 major retail categories showed increases.

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Sales of furniture and home furnishings were also strong, growing by 0.7% versus the month before, alongside an increase of 0.5% in electronics and appliance store sales and a 1.4% jump in spending at health and personal care stores.

In comparison to a year ago, total retail sales were up by 4.5%.

Sales at department stores dropped 0.3% last month and were down 0.9% from March 2017. Control-group sales rose at a 1 percent annualized rate over the last three months, compared with 7.6 percent in the three months through December.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of USA economic activity, grew at a robust 4.0 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter.

"We'll see how well tax breaks work going forward - the onus is now on the consumer", Sharif said.

What's likely to keep the spending going in the months ahead are rising incomes and recent tax cuts that have put more money in people's pockets. This series excludes Motor Vehicles & Parts, Gasoline, Building Materials, as well as Food Services & Drinking Places. Gas-station sales dropped 0.3 percent, the most since July, according to the Commerce report.

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