Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Retail Sales Rise 1.6% ; Core Sales Up 0.7%

In March, retail sales jumped 1.6%, following a rise of 0.5% in February. Sales growth in January were broad based with every major retail subcategory posting sales gains with the exception of gasoline sales and consumer electronics. Sales were led by a 6.7% increase in auto and parts sales. Retail sales not including the volatile autos and gasoline components rose by a lesser, but still strong 0.7% over the month. This followed a rise of 1.1% in February.

From a year prior, sales were up 7.6%. This is a new cyclical high and a sharp turnaround from a negative year-over-year rate as recently as last October. Core sales, followed a similar patter, rose 4.2% from a year prior, up from a 2.4% in February.

10.04.14 (Source: Census Bureau)


Anonymous said...

James, What affect do you think Easter Sunday coming a week earlier on April 4 this year versus April 11 last year had on moving sales into March? Anecdotally retailers reported a strong week of Easter and a slow down the week after. Thanks, GT

James Chessen, ABA Chief Economist said...


The weekly chain sales numbers did show a bit of a surge in sales just prior to Easter, so it is likely that some sales moved from April to March. However, for the monthly number reported here, the census bureau includes a holiday adjustment in its seasonally adjusted numbers, so in theory these numbers should already smooth out the change in the holiday date. However, with that said, seasonal adjustments are somewhat of an art rather than a pure science so it’s difficult to know if it was fully accounted for. When the April data is released, it will help to get a better feel for whether or not it was fully adjusted for.

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