Tuesday, June 14, 2011

USA Monthly Retail & Food Sales Dip in May (Charts) *First decrease since June 2010*


U.S. Census Bureau: Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services

Official Statement by U.S. Census Bureau (June 14, 2011) The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $387.1 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, but 7.7 percent (±0.7%) above May 2010.  Total sales for the March through May 2011 period were up 7.5 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago.  The March to April 2011 percent change was revised from +0.5 percent (±0.5%) to +0.3 percent (±0.3%). Retail trade sales were down 0.3 percent (±0.5%) from April 2011, but 8.0 percent (±0.7%) above last year.  Gasoline stations sales were up 22.3 percent (±1.7%) from May 2010 and nonstore retailers sales were up 15.9 percent (±3.1%) from last year.

Trend USA monthly retail and food services sales short-term trend has reversed to downwards. The intermediate-term and long-term trends are upwards. Before this May 2011 decrease, sales had increased 10 consecutive months (June 2010 to April 2011). Sales have increased 22 of the past 26 months (since April 2009).

Cycle History USA monthly sales for retail and food services in May of $387.1 billion (advance estimate) are below the Post-Great Recession peak and an all-time high of $388.0 billion (revised) set last month, April 2011. However, even with the decrease, the May 2011 sales are the second-highest all-time. The Pre-Great Recession peak was $378.4 billion in November 2007. The Great Recession cyclical low was $332.7 billion in March 2009.

Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services (Chart) Below is a chart of USA monthly sales for retail and food services from January 2007 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 $4.401 trillion, and reached a Great Recession cyclical low in 2009 at $4.093 trillion. The 2010 annual sales bounced upwards from the 2009 cyclical low to $4.354 trillion, which is just below the 2008 and 2009 annual sales. The 2011 estimated annual sales (utilizing only January through May 2011 annualized data) are off to a strong start and record pace.

Commentary May 2011 sales for retail and food services at $387.1 billion (advance estimate) are the first monthly decrease since June 2010. The prior 4 months (January 2011 through April 2011) were all-time highs. Regardless, the May 2011 sales are still the second-highest all-time, just below the April 2011 sales and exceeding January through March sales. The past 5 months have exceeded the Pre-Great Recession November 2007 peak of $378.4 billion. Therefore, USA sales are well above the cyclical bottom of $332.7 billion in March 2009. Annual sales for 2010 were $4.354 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 continuing strong trend should strengthen USA economic (GDP) growth.

High Gasoline Prices An increased 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 $41.6B, $42.8B, $44.4B, and $45.0B, and $45.2B for January through May 2011, respectively and are increasing faster than other segments of consumer spending. The increase year-over-year (YoY) from May 2010 to May 2011 was +22.3%.

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