US Retail Sales Decline for 2nd Month in March

Sales at U.S. retailers declined in March for a second month, hurt by fewer purchases of automobiles, Commerce Department data showed Friday.

• Value of purchases fell 0.2 percent (in line with median forecast) after February sales were revised to a 0.3 percent decrease (previously reported as a 0.1 percent gain)

• Retail control-group sales, which are used to calculate GDP and exclude the categories of food services, auto dealers, building materials outlets and gasoline stations, rose 0.5 percent after falling 0.2 percent

Over the last three months, retail control-group sales increased an annualized 4.1 percent, compared with 3.8 percent at the end of last year

Sales declined in six of 13 major retail categories in March. While household outlays are projected to cool in the first quarter, steady hiring, healthier household balance sheets and more optimistic consumers will probably underpin spending. A confidence report Thursday showed a favorable buying climate for big-ticket items.

Tax refunds, which had been delayed earlier this year, may help provide more wherewithal for consumers in the months ahead.

The report also helps explain why retailers have been cutting jobs this year and closing stores, with Internet sales outpacing purchases at brick-and-mortar merchants.

via Bloomberg

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza