We are a consumption based economy. We had a record retail sales year during 2017. We also saw our best total sales months for January retail, February, retail, and march retail this year. Last week it was projected that, non-seasonally adjusted, we would see an increase in sales April to April even as we see a slight decline in overall sales from March to April. The forecast was for all sectors to grow from their April 2017 levels except the Electronics and Appliances sector and the Sporting Goods and Hobby sector. The same article expected to see strong month to month growth in the Building Materials and Garden Equipment (BMGE) and gasoline station sectors. We are not in a Retail Ice Age. We are in a Retail Renaissance. What was reported this month?
April to April to April Retail Sales increased Over All - and for Nine Sectors - Including Electronics and Appliances. The surprise here was that General Merchandise sales dropped a bit from last April, as did Food and Beverage Stores, Clothing, and Sporting Good Sales.
Month to Month sales increased for Gasoline Stations and BMGE stores, as projected. There were month to month declines in the other sectors, as was expected. Even with this drop in sales, non-seasonally adjusted, we are on track for the best retail sales year ever.
Current Year sales were up for the current month, again. We had our best retail sales year during 2017, total sales, non-seasonally adjusted. WE had our best January this year. We had our best February this year. We had our best March and April this year. January through April the total market is up 4.71% from where we were last April. If we grow at this rate we will eclipse the $6 trillion dollar mark by the end of the year.
Rolling Year Growth is at 4.63%, up from 3.55% last April. The rolling year data is the current sales level for the past twelve months. This is a lagging economic indicator. The current year growth rate is higher than the rolling year growth rate so it appears that the retail sales volume is improving.
February and March Retail Sales Data were revised higher, in total. The February data was revised higher by 254 million dollars. The March data was revised higher by 2.577 billion dollars. The largest March upward revisions were for Motor Vehicles and Parts, Food and Drinking Places, and Gasoline stations. The largest March downward revision was for the BMGE sector. These upward revisions to the February and March MARTs data should mean that the first quarter GDP will be revised higher than it was originally reported.
The economic data is solid. The only sector with lower sales than prior to the recession is the "Electronics and Appliance" sector. The growth in retail is faster than the general rate of inflation.This is real growth. The only sector that did not grow faster than inflation was the Sporting Goods, Books, and Hobby sector. This may be shifting to non-store retail.
Soon we will be receiving new home construction data, new home sales data, and existing home sales data. If the data comes in as strong as expected the retail sector should see even faster rolling year and current year growth rates. We can see rolling year growth of over 5%, over 6%, and even over 7%. The economy appears to be firing on all cylinders.
It's the economy.
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