Retail Sales Flop in February but January Revised Higher


Sales rebounded in January from a dismal December then Flopped again in February.

Advance Estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services

The Census Bureau released Advance Monthly Retail Sales today.

  • Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February 2019, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $506.0 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent from the previous month, but 2.2 percent above February 2018.
  • Total sales for the December 2018 through February 2019 period were up 2.2 percent from the same period a year ago. The December 2018 to January 2019 percent change was revised from up 0.2 percent to up 0.7 percent.
  • Retail trade sales were down 0.2 percent from January 2019, but 2.1 percent above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 10.0 percent from February 2018, while health and personal care stores were up 5.9 percent from last year.

Retail Sales Categories

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Excluding autos, retail sales were down 0.4%, Auto sales and parts were up 0.7%.

I suspect more revisions are on the way.

Note that nonstore retail sales are up 0.9%. Amazon is doing well.

The government shutdown ended January 25. The shutdown did not seem to impact January sales.

February was weak, so is the three-month running total.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (3)
No. 1-3

Never seen dealer lots this empty.....ever!


New Jersey has the worst business climate in the nation, Connecticut and Illinois are experiencing a net population decline and all three states are running out of time to fix their employee retirement funds


Retail has been shrinking for, what, 15-20 years...?

Was anyone anywhere expecting a retail growth?

Global Economics