April 18, 2023
US retail sales fell -1.0% m/m in March, declining for the second month in a row. Sales were up +2.9% from a year ago, but that is not adjusted for inflation. Given that consumer inflation was running at +5.0% y/y in March, this indicates that real sales are actually down.
It’s worth noting that sales at gas stations fell -5.5% m/m in March, down -14.2% from a year ago. Excluding gas stations, retail sales declined -0.6% m/m in March, up +4.8% from a year ago – closer to holding even with inflation.
Retail sales for Q1 as a whole rose +1.7% q/q, up +5.4% from a year ago – roughly on par with inflation, suggesting that real sales were fairly flat.
Auto sales declined in -1.2% m/m March to a fairly subdued annual rate of 14.8 million per year, up +9.8% from a year ago. For Q1 as a whole, auto sales rose +6.6% q/q, up +8.2% from a year ago.