Retail Sales Growth Improve In March 2018 – But Is A Weak Bounce

Retail sales were up according to US Census headline data. The unadjusted rolling averages rate of growth also improved.

Analyst Opinion of Retail Sales

Even though there is seen a significant improvement – it was a weak bounce back from the previous month’s solf reports.

Things to consider when viewing this data:

  • it is not inflation adjusted.
  • the three month rolling averages of the unadjusted data significantly slowed
  • still, our analysis says this months’ year-over-year growth was about average for the growth seen in the last 12 months..

The relationship between year-over-year growth in inflation adjusted retail sales and retail employment do not correlate.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Backward data revisions were upward.

Econintersect Analysis:

  • unadjusted sales rate of growth accelerated 1.1 % month-over-month, and up5.1 % year-over-year.
  • unadjusted sales 3 month rolling year-over-year average growth accelerated 0.5 % month-over-month, up 4.8 % year-over-year.

(Click on image to enlarge)


  • unadjusted sales (but inflation adjusted) up 3.3 % year-over-year
  • this is an advance report. Please see caveats below showing variations between the advance report and the “final”.
  • in the seasonally adjusted data – the major strengths were automotive and non-store retailers.

U.S. Census Headlines:

  • seasonally adjusted sales down 0.6 % month-over-month, up 4.5 % year-over-year.
  • the market was expecting (from Bloomberg / Econoday):
seasonally adjusted Consensus Range Consensus Actual
Retail Sales – M/M change 0.2 % to 0.8 % +0.4 % +0.6%
Retail Sales less autos – M/M change 0.0 % to 0.4 % +0.2 % +0.2 %
Less Autos & Gas – M/M Change 0.3 % to 0.5 % +0.5 % +0.3 %
Control Group – M/M change 0.2 % to 0.6 % +0.5 % +0.4 %
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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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