Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Retail Sales Decline in April

by Bill McBride on 5/13/2009 02:07:00 AM

On a monthly basis, retail sales decreased 0.4% from March to April (seasonally adjusted), and sales are off 11.4% from April 2008 (retail and food services decreased 10.1%).

The following graph shows the year-over-year change in nominal and real retail sales since 1993.

Year-over-year change in Retail Sales Click on graph for larger image in new window.

To calculate the real change, the monthly PCE price index from the BEA was used (April PCE prices were estimated as the average increase over the previous 3 months).

Although the Census Bureau reported that nominal retail sales decreased 11.4% year-over-year (retail and food services decreased 10.1%), real retail sales declined by 11.9% (on a YoY basis).

Real Retail Sales The second graph shows real retail sales (adjusted with PCE) since 1992. This is monthly retail sales, seasonally adjusted.

NOTE: The graph doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

This shows that retail sales fell off a cliff in late 2008, and are still declining - but at a slower pace.

Here is the Census Bureau report:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $337.7 billion, a decrease of 0.4 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 10.1 percent (±0.7%) below April 2008. Total sales for the February through April 2009 period were down 9.2 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The February to March 2009 percent change was revised from -1.2 percent (±0.5%) to -1.3 percent (±0.3%).

Retail trade sales were down 0.4 percent (±0.7%)* from March 2009 and 11.4 percent (±0.7%) below last year. Gasoline stations sales were down 36.4 percent (±1.5%) from April 2008 and motor vehicle and parts dealers sales were down 20.7 percent (±2.3%) from last year.
No green shoots here.

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