The US retail sales rose in March after three consecutive months of decline, as households increased their purchases of motor vehicles and other large purchases, suggesting that consumer spending will go up in the second quarter of the year. Last month, the retail sales in the US rose by 0.6% after a 0.1% decline in February. For January, the data were revised downwards to a 0.2% decrease instead of the initial 0.1% down.
The economists predicted retail sales growth in the largest economy in the world by 0.4%. On an annual basis, the increase was 4.5%.
Excluding cars, gasoline, construction materials and food, the US retail sales grew 0.4% last month after they remained unchanged in February. So-called basic retail sales rose in February by only 0.1%. However, the growth seen last month will hardly change the expectations for a sharp decline in consumer spending in the first quarter.
The consumer spending, accounting for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose by 4% yoy in the fourth quarter. The economy grew by 2.9% in the last three months of last year.
The economy growth forecasts for the first quarter are below 2%. The government is expected to publish its preliminary GDP estimate for January-March later this month.
In March, the car sales jumped by 2%, the biggest increase in the sector since last September after a 1.3% drop in February. However, the receipts in gas stations have fallen by 0.3% due to the depreciation of fuel.
The sales in furniture stores rose by 0.7%, while building materials stores reported a decrease of 0.6% last month.
The clothes sales revenue fell by 0.8% and online retailer sales jumped by 0.8%. The sales in restaurants and bars increased by 0.4%.