Retail Sales Weaker Than Expected, July Revised Up, Large Y-o-Y Amazon Impact

Retail sales only rose 0.1% in Aug, but July was revised from +0.5% to +0.7%. Amazon impact stands out year-over-year.

The U.S. Census Bureau's Advance Estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales report for August 2018 shows unexpected weakness as retail sales rose only 0.1% vs the consensus estimate of 0.4%

The noticeable standout in this month's report is the continued weakness in autos.

Amazon/Online Impact

Year-over-year the only decline is in department, sporting goods and book stores. The Amazon impact is obvious.

Sales at nonstore retailers (think Amazon and other online stores) are up 10.4% year-over-year.

Thanks to rising gas prices, sales at gas stations are up 20.3% from a year ago. Excluding gas stations, sales are up 5.5% from a year ago.

Key Questions

  • Whether or not the decline is autos will persist
  • Impact of hurricane Florence
  • Whether Trump will proceed with $467 billion in tariff threats

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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