Consumer Credit Binge Hangover Sparks Slowdown in Retail Sales Growth

Following May's exuberant jump (revised even higher to +1.3% - biggest since Sept 2017) which coincided with a massive spike in consumer credit, June's retail sales growth slowed notably (+0.5% as expected).

Retail Sales ex-Autos beat expectations, rising 0.5% vs 0.4% expected, but slowing dramatically from an upwardly revised May spike of 1.3% MoM; but retail sales ex-autos and gas disappointed.

However, the control group's growth (ex-food, auto dealers, building materials, and gas stations) collapsed to unchanged in June (against expectations of a 0.4% MoM jump)...

 

Under the hood it was a mixed picture, with 8 of 13 major retail categories showed increases, according to the Commerce Department data.

Up:

  • Motor Vehicle and parts dealers: +0.9%
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores: +0.6
  • Building material and garden equipment: +0.8%
  • Health and personal care stores: +2.2%
  • Gasoline stations: +1.0%
  • Nonstore (internet) retailers: +1.3%
  • Food service and drinking places: +1.5%
  • Miscellaneous store retailers: +0.2%

Down:

  • Electronics and appliance stores: -0.4%
  • Food and beverage stores:  -0.3%  
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores: -2.5%
  • Sporting goods, hobby, musical and book stores: -3.2%
  • General Merchandise stores: -0.8%

So, once again, retail sales seems as dependent on the gusher of available consumer credit as any sentiment-driven impact.