Friday, May 14, 2010

Retail Sales increase in April

by Bill McBride on 5/14/2010 08:30:00 AM

On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 0.4% from March to April (seasonally adjusted, after revisions), and sales were up 8.8% from April 2009 (easy comparison).

Retail Sales Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows retail sales since 1992. This is monthly retail sales, seasonally adjusted (total and ex-gasoline).

The red line shows retail sales ex-gasoline and shows the increase in final demand ex-gasoline has been sluggish.

Retail sales are up 9.2% from the bottom, but still off 3.6% from the pre-recession peak.

Year-over-year change in Retail SalesThe second graph shows the year-over-year change in retail sales (ex-gasoline) since 1993.

Retail sales ex-gasoline increased by 6.9% on a YoY basis (8.8% for all retail sales). The year-over-year comparisons are easy now since retail sales collapsed in late 2008. Retail sales bottomed in December 2008.

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 $366.4 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 8.8 percent (±0.5%) above April 2009. Total sales for the February through April 2010 period were up 7.3 percent (±0.3%) from the same period a year ago. The February to March 2010 percent change was revised from +1.9 percent (±0.5%) to +2.1 percent (±0.4%).
The strongest sector was building material and garden equipment sales - and that might have been positively impacted by the homebuyer tax credit. Still this is a reasonably strong report.