Auto sales surged in March, sending the USA retail sector higher for the first time in four months, helped by increased spending in other areas, according to government data released on Monday (Apr 16). "Consumers continue to show resiliency in spending, and these numbers reflect how the economy is performing with a strong job market, gains in wages, improvements in confidence, rising home value and judicious use of credit". Sales at health and personal-care stores rose 1.4 percent and auto sales rose 2 percent, the most since September.
Auto sales gained two per cent, the biggest increase in six months.
US retail sales rose by more than expected in March in the first gain in four months, suggesting consumer demand regained steam on the back of tax cuts and refunds.
March retail sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over February and 5 percent year-over-year as the economy continued to grow, the National Retail Federation said today.
Spending at USA retailers rose broadly in March, rebounding after a weak start this year for consumer spending despite a solid labor market and growing worker paychecks. Sales also dropped at gasoline stations, but rose modest on a year-on-year basis by 10 percent.
Read the Census release. Control-group sales rose at a 1 percent annualized rate over the last three months, compared with 7.6 percent in the three months through December. The numbers for March suggest consumers are once again willing to spend that to a mixture of good economic news and the impact of the tax cuts passed late a year ago.
Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 6.1% year-over-year but down 0.8% from February seasonally adjusted. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores was the only other sector to post a year-over-year sales decline in March - down 3.3%. The survey's measure of future business conditions dropped to a more than two-year low.