Daily Traders Edge

U.S. retail sales pop up 0.6% in March after three straight declines

April 16
10:26 2018

The numbers: Sales at U.S. retailers rose 0.6% in March to end a streak of three straight declines, the Commerce Department reported Monday, underscoring the improved financial picture of American households and the resiliency of an economic expansion that could turn out to be the longest ever.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.4% increase in sales. An Easter holiday that fell on the last weekend of the month helped to drive more traffic into stores, though a bout of bad weather last month hurt some retailers such as home centers and clothing stores.

Sales rose a smaller 0.3% last month if autos and gas are stripped out, the Commerce Department said Monday.

The decline in sales in February was left at 0.1%. The drop in January was revised to show a 0.2% decrease instead of 0.1%.

What happened: Auto dealers posted their best month since last September. Sales rose 2%. Internet retailers, pharmacies and stores that sell home furnishings were other big winners.

Sales fell 0.3% at gas stations, a less than expected decline.

Home centers, apparel outlets and department stores also saw a drop in sales. Unseasonably poor weather during most of the month delayed some sales that typically take place as spring arrives.

Continue Reading at Market Watch

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