Release Explanation: This report measures the value of sales at the retail level, a very important set of figures that make up a large percentage of the consumer spending numbers. Retail sales are the measure of the total sales of goods and services by retail stores. Retail Sales is an important measure of consumer spending and inflationary pressures. Serviced based economies rely on the strength of the consumer to keep things moving along, this therefore impacts PCE and CPI, the Inflationary reports. A currency will be impacted by this report over time as it reveals the strength of the public in their ability, or desire, to spend. Steady increases in retail sales apply significant inflationary pressures to consumer prices. With retail trade being the foremost indicator for consumer spending, this figure is extremely important in understanding the economy.
Trade Desk Thoughts: Nominal retail sales declined 0.1% in February, the Census Bureau said today. It was the seventh decrease in the last eight months, but the January number was revised higher to an increase of 1.8% from the previously reported 1.0%. Economists had expected to see nominal sales decline by 0.5%.
The numbers here point to some resiliency, said Matthew Carniol, Chief Currency Strategist at TheLFB-forex.com. The big number is that ex-autos and gasoline, sales at all other retailers saw an increase of 0.5%.
Retail sales ex-autos, the so-called core rate, rose 0.7%. Core sales from January were revised higher to a 1.6% increase from the originally estimated 0.9%. The number handily beat the consensus estimate of a 0.1% decline.
Gas station sales lifted the overall retail number. In February, sales climbed 3.4% after increasing 2.8% in January. Without this contribution demand at all other retailers decreased 0.4%.
Automobile and parts sales plunged 4.3%. For the year to February, car and parts sales were 23.5% lower.
Sales last month climbed 2.8% at clothing stores; 1.2% at electronic stores; 1.3% at general merchandise stores; 0.3% at mail order and Internet retailers; 0.6% at health and personal care stores; 0.7% at furniture retailers; and 0.2% at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.
Sales fell 0.2% at eating and drinking places; 0.7% at food and beverage stores; and 0.2% at building material and garden supplies dealers.
Forex Technical Reaction: S&P futures were trading lower on the day prior to the report, but they rose heading into the numbers and continued rising afterwards to a 0.50% gain. The dollar declined against the better-yielders as well as the yen as S&P futures improved.