2017 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 5/12/2017 8:30:00 AM For Apr, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change-0.2 %0.1 %0.6 %0.4 % to 1.0 %0.4 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.0 %0.3 %0.5 %0.3 % to 0.6 %0.3 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change0.1 %0.4 %0.4 %0.2 % to 0.6 %0.3 %
Control Group – M/M change0.5 %0.7 %0.4 %0.3 % to 0.5 %0.2 %

Highlights
Retail sales did recover in April but not as much as expected, up 0.4 percent overall and up 0.3 percent excluding autos which both miss Econoday's consensus estimates by 2 tenths. Core readings are likewise soft, up 0.3 percent ex-auto ex-gas which misses the consensus by 1 tenth and up only 0.2 percent for the control group where a 0.4 percent gain was the call.

Vehicle sales rose 0.7 percent in April following three straight sizable declines. Nonstore retailers continue to outperform with electronics & appliances showing a second strong gain. But showing a third month of weakness and hinting at lack of demand for basic goods is the general merchandise category where the department store subcomponent, in an echo of company news out of the sector, shows only marginal strength.

Revisions are helpful but again but by much. The overall rate for March is revised 3 tenths higher to plus 0.1 percent but February, at minus 0.2 percent, is unrevised. The upward revision for March will be a modest plus for first-quarter GDP where the first estimate on consumer spending came in barely positive and at an expansion low.

Consumer confidence may be through the roof but retail sales, and consumer spending in general, have been stuck on the ground. Despite a very easy comparison against a very weak first quarter, second quarter consumer spending is off to no better than a moderate start.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Consumer spending has emerged as a major concern for the 2017 economy, having slowed abruptly during the first quarter. But adjustment issues with the data may be at play given the winter's uneven weather and also the Easter shift into April, two factors that may have specifically held down March's totals. The Econoday consensus is calling for a significant rebound in April retail sales, at a 0.6 percent gain with the ex-auto reading very positive at 0.5 percent. Core readings are also expected to show solid gains with ex-auto ex-gas up 0.4 percent and the control group up 0.4 percent.

Definition
Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. Sales are by retail and food services stores. Data are collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Essentially, retail sales cover the durables and nondurables portions of consumer spending. Consumer spending typically accounts for about two-thirds of GDP and is therefore a key element in economic growth.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Nearly 75 percent of the time, changes in monthly retail sales are between +1 percent and -1 percent. However, there are many months in which the monthly change falls outside that range. Most of the time, excessive increases or decreases are due to higher/lower spending on motor vehicle sales. Year-over-year changes in retail sales can be volatile as well, but tend to be smoother than monthly changes.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/132/153/154/145/126/147/148/159/1510/1311/1512/14
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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