Home Logon FTA Investment Managers Blog Subscribe About Us Contact Us

Search by Ticker, Keyword or CUSIP       

Blog Home
   Brian Wesbury
Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
   Bob Stein
Deputy Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
  Retail Sales Declined 0.5% in February
Posted Under: Data Watch • Retail Sales
Supporting Image for Blog Post


Implications: A soft report on retail sales for February, declining 0.5%, and coming in below consensus expectations.  Most of the decline was concentrated in the most volatile categories: gas station sales (held down by falling oil prices), autos, and building materials.  But the decline in February was widespread, as sales fell in eight of thirteen major categories, including restaurants & bars, which were down -0.5% and which are dropping steeply in March.  "Core" sales, which exclude those three volatile categories were down 0.1%.  Overall sales are up a solid 4.3% from a year ago, but this positive reading should start to reverse in the months ahead as the panic and shutdowns related to the coronavirus take hold.  The one bright spot, and one that may continue through the short and sharp coronavirus contraction in the months ahead, was non-store retail sales.  These sales grew 0.7% in February and are up 7.5% from a year ago.  The best news, if any, going into this contractionary period was that the consumer was on very solid footing.  Jobs and wages were moving up, companies and consumers continued to benefit from tax cuts, consumer balance sheets were healthy, and serious (90+ day) debt delinquencies were down substantially from post-recession highs.  For these reasons, we expect the consumer to bounce back strongly in the second half of the year once we get past the coronavirus.  Until then, expect some ugly data in the months ahead.

Click here  for PDF version

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 @ 11:54 AM • Post Link Print this post Printer Friendly

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
The information presented is not intended to constitute an investment recommendation for, or advice to, any specific person. By providing this information, First Trust is not undertaking to give advice in any fiduciary capacity within the meaning of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or any other regulatory framework. Financial professionals are responsible for evaluating investment risks independently and for exercising independent judgment in determining whether investments are appropriate for their clients.
Follow First Trust:  
First Trust Portfolios L.P.  Member SIPC and FINRA. (Form CRS)   •  First Trust Advisors L.P. (Form CRS)
Home |  Important Legal Information |  Privacy Policy |  California Privacy Policy |  Business Continuity Plan |  FINRA BrokerCheck
Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved.