Retail Sales Up 1.6%, Auto Purchases Surge By 7.5%, Electronics Sales Decline By 1.3%

From the Census Bureau:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $363.2 billion, an increase of 1.6 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month and 7.6 percent (±0.5%) above March 2009. Total sales for the January through March 2010 period were up 5.5 percent (±0.3%) from the same period a year ago. The January to February 2010 percent change was revised from +0.3 percent (±0.5%)* to +0.5 percent (±0.3%).
Retail trade sales were up 1.8 percent (±0.5%) from February 2010 and 8.2 percent (±0.5%) above last year. Gasoline stations sales were up 26.4 percent (±1.5%) from March 2009 and motor vehicle and parts dealers sales were up 14.1 percent (±2.5%) from last year.

The biggest component to the increase in March was the traditionally noisy and excluded Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers, which increased from $53.4 billion to $69.9 billion. What we find surprising is that in light of all the rage over tech, sales at Electronic and Appliance Stores declined by -1.3% from $8.4 billion to $8.3 billion. How this is possible with ever increasing "strategic" mortgage defaults is beyond us. We can't wait to see the latest consumer savings rate data.

Other notable changes from February:

  • Food services & drinking places: 0.1%
  • Grocery stores: 0.1%
  • Clothing & clothing accessories stores: 2.3%
  • Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers: 3.1%

Full Census report