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US retail sales as expected, but details disappoint

US retail sales as expected, but details disappoint

14.6.2012 9:55

In May, US retail sales dropped by 0.2% M/M, in line with expectations, but the disappointment was based in the details. And also the previous figure was downwardly revised, from 0.1% M/M to -0.2% M/M.

The breakdowns shows that the decline was led by sales at gasoline stations (-2.2% M/M), which was in line with expectations as the oil price dropped sharply during the month. But also sales of building materials (-1.7% M/M), miscellaneous (-0.9% M/M), general merchandise (-0.5% M/M), food & beverages (-0.2% M/M), eating & drinking (-0.2% M/M), health & personal care (-0.1% M/M) and sporting goods (- 0.1% M/M) dropped in May.

Weakness in those categories was partly offset by increasing sales of clothing (0.9% M/M), motor vehicles and parts (0.8% M/M), electronics (0.8% M/M), non-store retailing (1.3% M/M) and furniture (0.4% M/M). As a result, also core retail sales, which excludes autos and gas, dropped (by 0.1% M/M), while an increase by 0.4% M/M was forecast. The control group showed a stabilization in May, while an 0.4% M/M increase was expected, and also here, the previous figure was downwardly (from 0.4% M/M to 0.1% M/M) revised, a bleak sign for second quarter GDP.

For the first time in more than one year, retail sales dropped over the previous months, which is at least partly due to the declining oil price, but also suggest that consumers are more cautious than in the previous months.

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