March Retail Sales Rose 4.5% YOY

March Retail Sales Rose 4.5% YOY

That's more than double the overall retail sales gain in the past 12 months of 4.5 percent.

Washington, DC, April 16, 2018-Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2018 were $494.6 billion, an increase of 0.6% from the previous month, and 4.5% above March 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a 0.3% increase.

The improvement in demand went beyond a bump in auto sales, as consumers went shopping at furniture and home stores along with electronics and appliance sellers.

The modest increase in ex-auto sales partly reflected a 1.4 percent spike in sales by health and personal care stores. It came in slightly above market projections of a rise of 0.4 percent.

Online and other non-store sales were up 7.6% year-over-year and up 0.8% over February seasonally adjusted.

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Consumer optimism is high due to factors like job market strength, rising wages, lower taxes and the receipt of tax refunds.

The biggest losers for the month seemed to be weather-related, since much of the United States has experienced a cold early spring. "People were so built up on the economy and tax cuts, but our view is that it's more steady than acceleration". The organization said that the three-month moving average for the first quarter increased 4.8% annually, with total 2018 retail sales estimated to see an annual gain between 3.8%-to-4.4%.

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.

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

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