US retail trade jumped 1.6 percent from a month earlier in March 2019, following a 0.2 percent drop in February and easily beating market expectations of a 0.9 percent advance. That was the biggest increase in retail trade since September 2017 boosted by sales of motor vehicles and a range of other goods.
12 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month increases.
Receipts at motor vehicle & parts dealers surged 3.1 percent, the most since September 2017, after a 0.1 percent decline in the previous month; and those at gasoline stations increased 3.5 percent, the same pace as in February, on the back of higher fuel prices. In addition, sales at clothing stores advanced 2 percent, the largest gain since last May, reversing a 1.8 percent drop in February; and those at restaurants and bars were up 0.8 percent, the most since last July, compared to 0.3 percent rise. Sales also rose at: furniture & home furniture stores (1.7 percent vs 0.8 percent); electronics and appliances stores (0.5 percent vs -1.4 percent); building material stores (0.3 percent vs -4.4 percent); food & beverage stores (1 percent vs -1.9 percent); health & personal care stores (0.2 percent vs 0.6 percent); general merchandise stores (0.7 percent vs -0.3 percent); miscellaneous store retailers (1.8 percent vs -1.1 percent); and online and mail-order trade (1.2 percent, the same as in February).
By contrast, receipts at hobby, musical instrument and book stores dropped 0.3 percent, reversing a 0.3 percent advance in February.
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales climbed 1 percent in March after a downwardly revised 0.3 percent decline in February.
Year-on-year, retail trade growth quickened to 3.6 percent from 2.2 percent in the previous month.
4/18/2019 12:54:54 PM