August Retail Sales Bounce Back [Dow Jones Industrial Average, SPDR S&P Retail (ETF)]

retail etfDoug Short: The Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that sales in August rose 0.6% (0.58% at two decimals) month-over-month, up from 0.3% in July (an upward revision from 0.0%). Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) rose 0.3%, up from 0.1% in July. This was the largest increase since April’s 0.62%.

Today’s headline and core numbers matched the forecasts. Expectations for strong August retail sales were “fueled” by a significant drop in gasoline prices (see the details here).

The two charts below are log-scale snapshots of retail sales since the early 1990s. Both include an inset to show the trend over the past 12 months. The one on the left illustrates the “Headline” number. On the right is the “Core” version, which excludes motor vehicles and parts (commonly referred to as “ex autos”). Click on either thumbnail for a larger version.

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The year-over-year percent change provides a better idea of trends. Here is the headline series.

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Here is the year-over-year version of Core Retail Sales.

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Retail Sales: “Control” Purchases

The next chart illustrates retail sales “Control” purchases, which is an even more “Core” view of retail sales. This series excludes Motor Vehicles & Parts, Gasoline, Building Materials as well as Food Services & Drinking Places. I’ve highlighted the values at the start of the two recessions since the inception of this series in the early 1990s.

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