U.S. Census Bureau: Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services
Official Statement by U.S. Census Bureau (April 13, 2011) The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $389.3 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, and 7.1 percent (±0.7%) above March 2010. Total sales for the January through March 2011 period were up 8.1 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The January to February 2011 percent change was revised from +1.0 percent (±0.5%) to +1.1 percent (±0.2%). Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from February 2011, and 7.3 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Gasoline stations sales were up 16.7 percent (±1.7%) from March 2010 and nonstore retailers sales were up 12.4 percent (±3.1%) from last year.
Trend USA monthly retail and food services sales continue short, intermediate, and long term uptrends. Sales have increased 9 consecutive months, 16 of the past 18 months, and 21 of the past 24 months.
Cycle History USA monthly sales for retail and food services in March of $389.3 billion (advance estimate) are at a Post-Great Recession peak and an all-time high, exceeding both the February 2011 prior month all-time high and the November 2007 Pre-Great Recession peak of $379.96 billion. The Great Recession cyclical low was $335.6 billion in December 2008.
Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services (Chart) Below is a chart of USA monthly sales for retail and food services from the Great Recession cyclical low in December 2008 of $335.6 billion through the latest month reported.
Annual Sales for Retail and Food Services (Chart) Below is a chart of USA annual sales for retail and food services from 2004 through 2011 (estimated). Annual sales for 2011 are estimated by extrapolating 2011 actual monthly sales based on a 12-month year. Annual sales peaked in 2007 at $4.454 trillion, dipped in 2008 at $4.409 trillion, and reached a Great Recession cyclical low in 2009 at $4.129 trillion. The 2010 annual sales bounced upwards from the 2009 cyclical low to $4.397 trillion, which is just below the 2008 and 2009 annual sales. The 2011 estimated annual sales (utilizing only January through March 2011 annualized data) are off to a strong start and record pace.
Commentary March sales for retail and food services at $389.3 billion (advance estimate) are an all-time high. The past 3 months, December 2010, January 2011, and February 2011 were the previous all-time highs. The past 4 months have exceeded the Pre-Great Recession November 2007 peak of $379.96 billion. Therefore, USA sales are well above the cyclical bottom of $335.6 billion in December 2008. Annual sales for 2010 were $4.397 trillion, which is higher than 2009 and just below 2007 and 2008. Since consumer spending, consumption, is a significant portion of the USA economy (60%+ of GDP), this upsurge should strengthen USA economic (GDP) growth. However, an increasing amount of consumer spending is now being diverted to gasoline with the increase in oil prices. This is reflected in the Gasoline Stations category. These sales were $39,717M, $40,681M, and $41,754M for January, February, and March 2011, respectively and are increasing faster than other segments of consumer spending.
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