August 15, 2017 – Retail Sales are the total amount of merchandise and related services sold to consumers. It is considered a sign of strength of U.S. Consumer spending, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the economy. This indicator also provides insight into which areas of the retail space are experiencing strong sales, such as auto sales.
Retail sales increased 0.6% in July from the previous month’s upwardly revised 0.3%. This gain in sales was above the consensus of a 0.3% gain. Year-over-year sales are up 4.3%. Retail sales less autos rose 0.5% from the previous month when the consensus was 0.3% growth. Sales excluding auto and gas was up 0.5% in July, slightly above the consensus of 0.4%. The control group had a 0.6% gain as well, also above the consensus of 0.4%.
Motor vehicle & parts dealers and non-store retailers showed the largest month-to-month growth of 1.2% and 1.0%, respectively. Gasoline brought down retail sales with a slight decrease of 0.3% as well as grocery stores with a decrease of 0.4%. The overall increase in retail sales signals consumers are spending more and boosting GDP. Rising retail sales can also be linked to lowering unemployment numbers as the U.S. experiences a level of full employment.