March Retail Sales

March sales marked the third straight month that sales were flat to down. Total retail sales were down 0.3% to February and up 1.7% to March 2015. Compare the year over year to February's 3.1% and you see the big misses within Auto, Building materials and Clothing stores. A few highlights from March:

  • Building material & garden equipment had the largest percentage gain of 10.8% versus last year but down from the 12.1% last month
  • Motor vehicle and parts dealers were up 1.5% versus last year but down from 6.8% last month
  • Clothing stores historically have been putting up 2-3% growth but were only up 0.1% year over year
  • Sporting, non-store (online) remain strong year over year with 6.1% growth
  • Restaurants continue to lengthen their lead on grocery 
  • The Electronics vacuum of sales to online continues with a decline of 2.1%
  • Department Stores multi-decade decline continues with a decline of 6.1% year over year
  • Online retailers continue to post rates above 6% year over year

The trends for strong Sporting, Building and Online retailers continues. The continued weakness in Electronics and Department Stores with combined weakness in Clothing Stores is showing a weak 1st Quarter emerging. If we see further revisions downward, earnings in the coming quarters will likely result in lower than anticipated gross margins as retailers will need to "buy" the quarters through markdowns. 

February Retail Sales can be found here.

January Retail Sales can be found here.

December Retail Sales can be found here.