Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Auto rebound gives USA retail a bounce in March

Auto rebound gives USA retail a bounce in March

February's number was upwardly revised to reflect a 0.1% decrease.

The data on Monday also showed that a decline in gasoline costs, as reported last week in the Labor Department's consumer-price index, may have weighed on filling-station receipts.

According the National Retail Federation (NRF), total retail sales in March increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted over February and 5.0% year-over-year. 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.

The report said retail sales climbed by 0.6 percent in March after edging down by 0.1 percent in February.

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Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.7% from February seasonally adjusted and up 4.1% year-over-year.

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

"This is a healthy spending report despite market volatility, unseasonable weather and uncertain economic policies", NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement.

Retail spending in the world's largest economy gained 0.6 per cent for the month, rising to US$494.6 billion, overshooting economists' expectations and marking the biggest gain since November. Retail sales in March increased 4.5 percent from a year ago.

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Core retail sales - excluding automobiles and parts - rose 0.2%.

The other major winning retail category for the month was health and personal care stores, which spiked 1.4 percent compared with February.

Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 6.1% year-over-year but down 0.8% from February seasonally adjusted.

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

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