CH: Adjusted real retail sales


Mon Oct 02 02:15:00 CDT 2017

Actual Previous Revised
Y/Y % change -0.2% -0.7% 0.0%

Highlights
Retail sales were again soft in August. Following a smaller revised 0.9 percent monthly fall in July, purchases declined a further 0.2 percent to leave workday adjusted volumes 0.2 percent lower on the year.

Excluding auto fuel, the picture was a little better with non-food sales at least holding flat on the month after a meagre 0.1 percent gain last time. However, purchases of food, drink and tobacco were 0.2 percent weaker, compounding July's 1.2 percent slump.

Total household spending rose just 0.2 percent on the quarter in the April-June period and was largely responsible for a surprisingly sluggish 0.3 percent increase in real GDP. Today's report suggests another poor outcome for the quarter just ended.

Definition
Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell durable and nondurable goods. The survey comprises around 4,000 companies with the small-sized firms asked to provide monthly turnover data on a quarterly basis. Statistics are provided in both nominal and volume measures; the latter is the more important for financial markets. The headline figure is the annual growth in sales volumes adjusted for differences in trading days. Seasonally adjusted monthly changes are also provided. Details are limited in the first estimate but a more complete picture is provided with the following month's release.

Description
Consumer spending accounts for a large portion of the economy, so if you know what consumers are up to, you will have a pretty good idea on where the economy is headed. Needless to say, that is a big advantage for investors. The pattern in consumer spending is often the foremost influence on stock and bond markets. For stocks, strong economic growth translates to healthy corporate profits and higher stock prices. For bonds, the focus is whether economic growth goes overboard and leads to inflation. Ideally, the economy walks that fine line between strong growth and excessive (inflationary) growth. Retail sales not only give you a sense of the big picture, but also the trends among different types of retailers. Perhaps auto sales are especially strong or apparel sales are showing exceptional weakness. These trends from the retail sales data can help you spot specific investment opportunities, without having to wait for a company's quarterly or annual report.