2011 Economic Calendar
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Event Definitions   |   Today's Calendar

Retail Sales
Released On 11/15/2011 8:30:00 AM For Oct, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change1.1 %0.2 %-0.2 % to 0.5 %0.5 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change0.6 %0.5 %0.0 %-0.4 % to 0.4 %0.6 %

Highlights
In October, retail sales continued to gain--not at September's rapid pace but still quite healthy. Overall retail sales in October advanced 0.5 percent, following a 1.1 percent jump in September (originally up 1.1 percent). The rise in October well beat analysts' forecast for a 0.2 percent increase. Excluding autos, retail sales increased a strong 0.6 percent in October after increasing a robust 0.5 percent in September (originally up 0.6 percent). The median forecast was for no change. Gasoline sales tugged down on the core, dipping 0.4 percent, following a 0.7 percent jump the month before. Sales excluding autos and gasoline in October jumped 0.7 percent, following a 0.5 percent gain in September. Component gains were widespread.

Component gains were broad based. The strongest component was for electronics & appliance stores which surged 3.7 percent in October, followed by building materials & gardening equipment (up 1.5 percent) and nonstore retailers (up 1.5 percent). Also seeing gains were motor vehicles, food & beverage, health & personal care, sporting goods & hobby, miscellaneous store retailers, and food services & drinking places.

The largest decline was in clothing & accessory stores, down 0.7 percent, and furniture & home furnishing, also down 0.7 percent. Gasoline station sales also slipped. General merchandise store sales were unchanged in October.

Retail sales on a year-ago basis in October posted at 7.2 percent, compared to 7.9 percent in September. Excluding motor vehicles, sales were up 7.3 percent on a year-on-year basis, compared to 7.7 percent the month before.

Today's retail sales report shows a consumer much more willing to spend than sentiment surveys suggest. This is a good start for putting together estimates for fourth quarter GDP growth. On the news, equity futures improved.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Retail sales in September made quite a comeback, jumping 1.1 percent, following a 0.3 percent increase the prior month. Excluding autos, sales gained a robust 0.6 percent after rising 0.5 percent in August. Gasoline sales boosted the core notably in the latest month. Nonetheless, sales excluding autos and gasoline in September were up a healthy 0.5 percent, following a 0.5 percent boost the month before. Component gains were widespread with only a few showing declines. Looking ahead, there will be less lift from auto sales as unit new motor vehicle sales gained a moderate 1.2 percent in October, compared to an 8.0 percent surge in September.

Definition
Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. Sales are by retail and food services stores. Data are collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Essentially, retail sales cover the durables and nondurables portions of consumer spending. Consumer spending typically accounts for about two-thirds of GDP and is therefore a key element in economic growth.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Nearly 75 percent of the time, changes in monthly retail sales are between +1 percent and -1 percent. However, there are many months in which the monthly change falls outside that range. Most of the time, excessive increases or decreases are due to higher/lower spending on motor vehicle sales. Year-over-year changes in retail sales can be volatile as well, but tend to be smoother than monthly changes.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 

 

2011 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/142/153/114/135/126/147/148/129/1410/1411/1512/13
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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