The Commerce Department reported on Friday that sales at U.S. retailers declined
1.0 percent m-o-m in March, following an upwardly revised 0.2 percent m-o-m fall
(from -0.4 percent m-o-m) in February. That was the largest monthly drop in
retail sales since November 2022 (-1.1 percent m-o-m).
Economists had expected total sales would decrease 0.4 percent m-o-m in March.
According to the report, the March decline in total retail sales was due
to decreases in 8 of all 13 retail categories, led by gasoline stations (-5.5
percent m-o-m), general merchandise stores (-3.0 percent m-o-m), electronics
and appliance stores (-2.1 percent m-o-m), and building material and garden
equipment and supplies dealers (-2.1 percent m-o-m). In contrast, non-store
retailers (+1.9 percent m-o-m) demonstrated the largest advance in retail sales
Excluding auto, retail sales fell 0.8 percent m-o-m in March after an
upwardly revised flat m-o-m reading (from -0.1 percent m-o-m) in the previous
month, being worse than economists’ forecast of a 0.3 percent m-o-m slip.
In y-o-y terms, U.S. retail sales climbed 2.9 percent in March after an
upwardly revised 5.9 percent jump (from +5.4 percent) in the previous month. That
marked the weakest annual rise since June 2020 (+2.2 percent y-o-y).