2018 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 8/15/2018 8:30:00 AM For Jul, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change0.5 %0.2 %0.1 %0.0 % to 0.3 %0.5 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.4 %0.2 %0.4 %0.2 % to 0.6 %0.6 %
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change0.3 %0.2 %0.4 %0.2 % to 0.5 %0.6 %
Control Group – M/M change0.0 %-0.1 %0.4 %0.1 % to 0.5 %0.5 %

Demand for autos has cooled but not overall retail sales which rose 0.5 percent in July to easily top Econoday's consensus range where the high forecasts were only at 0.3 percent. A downward revision to June, however, is an offset, now at a 0.2 percent gain vs an initial 0.5 percent. This will trim the second estimate of second-quarter GDP but the strong gain for July will lift early estimates for third-quarter GDP.

Motor vehicle sales did manage, despite July's downturn in unit sales, to post a gain of 0.2 percent but the downward revision to June is centered here, now at only a 0.1 percent for this component vs an initial jump of 0.9 percent. But restaurant sales, which like autos are a discretionary category, rose a very strong 1.3 percent which is on top of 1.6 and 2.8 percent gains in the prior two months. Also very strong are sales for e-commerce as nonstore retailers posted a 0.8 percent July gain following a 0.7 percent rise in June.

Gasoline sales are also positive, up 0.8 percent in July and probably reflecting strength in summer driving demand, not just changes in prices. Apparel sales popped back up in July as did department store sales. Building materials, however, were flat with June sales for this category revised sharply lower to only a 0.1 percent gain. This along with a 0.5 percent decline in furniture sales are negative indications for residential investment.

But this report is not about negatives but positives -- and that is strength in the central driver of the economy which is consumer spending and which is getting a major boost from strength in the labor market.

Consensus Outlook
A turn lower for unit vehicle sales points to weakness for July's motor vehicle component which in turn is expected to limit the headline gain for retail sales to a consensus 0.1 percent vs 0.5 percent in June. Excluding autos, a larger gain of 0.4 percent is the call with ex-auto ex-gas also at a consensus 0.4 percent and control group sales at an expected 0.4 percent as well.

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
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

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/122/143/144/165/156/147/168/159/1410/1511/1512/14
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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