Retail Sales Gain 0.4% in August, 4.1% Year-Over-Year; Revised Higher for June and July
The U.S. Census Bureau reported advance retail sales were $526.1 billion, stronger-than-expected increase of 0.4% (±0.5%)* from July. Retail sales are now 4.1% (±0.7%) higher than in August 2018.
Estimates are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. Forecasts for August ranged from a low of -0.1% to a high of 0.4%. The consensus forecast was 0.2%.
Retail sales have exceeded $500 billion for the eight straight month. If not for a dip just below in December 2018, it would be 16 straight months. They had hit that threshold for 7 straight months prior.
Retail trade sales were up 0.6% (±0.5%) from June 2019 and 4.6% (±0.7%) higher than last year. Nonstore retailers were up 16.0% (±1.4%) from August 2018, and motor vehicles and parts dealers were up 6.8% (±1.9%) from last year.
Previous Retail Sales Revised Higher
Total sales for the June 2019 through August 2019 period were up 3.7% (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The June 2019 to July 2019 percent change was revised from up 0.7% (±0.5%) to up 0.8% (±0.1%).
For retail sales less auto sales, forecasts ranged from a low of -0.2% to a high of 0.4%. The consensus forecast was 0.2%.
For retail sales less auto sales and gas, forecasts ranged from a low of 0.0% to a high of 0.6%. The consensus forecast was 0.3%.
*The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. There is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero.