US: Expect a 0.2% increase in retail sales – Nomura

Analysts at Nomura expect a healthy 0.5% increase in US core (“control”) retail sales in March following a weak 0.1% increase in February.

Key Quotes

“Strong consumer confidence and labor market conditions were likely supportive for consumer spending in March. In addition, the delayed arrival of tax refunds relative to historical precedents may have shifted spending in February to March. The BLS’ seasonal adjustment process may not fully filter out this idiosyncratic change in spending pattern. However, recent divergence between elevated optimism and tame growth in personal spending, if continued, may increase the risk that personal spending does not respond to the recent personal tax cuts as strongly as we expected. For non-core components, gasoline prices trended lower in March, pointing to a decline in nominal sales at gasoline stations.”

“A transitory slowdown in construction sector hiring suggests that sales at building material stores, which tend to be volatile, may have declined notably. In addition, considering a sharp increase in auto sale figures reported by WardsAuto in March, sales at auto and auto parts dealerships likely increased solidly. Excluding autos and auto parts, we think retail sales remained flat in March. Put together, we expect a 0.2% increase in total retail sales for March.”

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