This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Retail on Three-Month Winning Streak

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Retail sales rose for the third month in a row in March, beating economists' forecasts.

According to the Commerce Department, sales grew 1.6% during the month, the largest increase since November. Analysts predicted a smaller gain of 1.2%.

Sales were boosted by motor vehicles and auto parts, which soared 6.7%. Excluding this segment, sales climbed just 0.6%.

Who's Getting Rich Off Your Spending? (Forbes)

In other sectors, apparel sales increased 2.3%, building materials and garden equipment rose 3.1% and sporting goods, hobby and books advanced 1%.

Electronic retailers proved to be a disappointment, however, with sales falling 1.3%.

One interesting data point is the 0.3% decline in sales at gas stations. Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi said this number runs counter to the improving sales trends experienced by wholesalers like Costco (COST - Get Report) and BJ's Wholesale (BJ), which operate gasoline stations at their clubs. The two companies reported same-store sales gains of 10% and 10.6%, respectively, in March.

The gas-station sales decline also conflicts with the rise in gasoline prices across the U.S. Sozzi believes that shoppers, as prices at the pump creep over $3 a gallon, are starting to consolidate trips to discounters and malls.

That should help one-stop shopping outlets like Target (TGT - Get Report) and Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report), as well as malls that have big-box retailers attached.

Though March was a month worthy of celebration, experts are wary about April. "There isn't enough evidence of a recovery trajectory that will result in a real improvement in the economy," said Kevin Regan of FTI Consulting.

He called April a "test" month, since retailers must now decide on what they'll do with their inventory levels.

"March could have been a temporary phenomenon," Regan said.

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
COST $148.12 0.00%
TGT $82.70 0.00%
WMT $79.84 0.00%
AAPL $130.28 0.00%
FB $81.53 0.00%


DOW 18,080.14 +21.45 0.12%
S&P 500 2,117.69 +4.76 0.23%
NASDAQ 5,092.0850 +36.0220 0.71%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs