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Financial News: U.S. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Show Modest Pullback In

U.S. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Show Modest Pullback In February

04/01/2019 - 09:05:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The Commerce Department released a report on Monday unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in U.S. retail sales in the month of February following a significantly upwardly revised increase in sales in the previous month.

The report said retail sales dipped by 0.2 percent in February after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in January.

Economists had expected sales to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected drop in retail sales came despite a rebound in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, which increased by 0.7 percent in February after plunging by 1.9 percent in January.

Excluding the rebound in auto sales, retail sales fell by 0.4 percent in February after jumping by a revised 1.4 percent in January.

Ex-auto sales had been expected to climb by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.9 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Sales by building materials and supplies dealers showed a substantial pullback, nose-diving by 4.4 percent in February after spiking by 4.4 percent in January.

The report also showed notable decreases in sales by miscellaneous store retailers, electronics and appliance stores, and grocery stores, more than offsetting a rebound in sales by gas stations.

Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food services, edged down by 0.2 percent in February after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.7 percent in January.

Despite the monthly decrease, total retail sales in February were up by 2.2 percent compared to the same month a year ago, although that still reflects a slowdown from the 2.8 percent year-over-year jump in January.

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