The Census Bureau’s Advance Retail Sales Report for June released this morning showed a slight decrease over the May figures.

 

By Jill Mislinksi

 

Headline sales came in at -0.2% month-over-month to one decimal. Today’s headline number was below the Investing.com consensus of 0.1%. Core sales (ex Autos) also came in at -0.2% MoM. Figures were revised going back to May 2016.

Here is the introduction from today’s report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $473.5 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent (± 0.5 percent)* from the previous month, and 2.8 percent (± 0.9 percent) above June 2016. Total sales for the April 2017 through June 2017 period were up 3.8 percent (± 0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The April 2017 to May 2017 percent change was revised from down 0.3 percent (± 0.5 percent)* to down 0.1 percent (± 0.2 percent)*.

Retail trade sales were down 0.1 percent (± 0.5 percent)* from May 2017, and up 3.0 percent (± 0.7 percent) from last year. Nonstore Retailers were up 9.2 percent (± 1.8 percent) from June 2016, while Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, & Music Stores were down 8.9 percent (± 2.1 percent) from last year. [view full report]

The chart below is a log-scale snapshot of retail sales (NYSEARCA:XLY) since the early 1990s. The two exponential regressions through the data help us to evaluate the long-term trend of this key economic indicator.

Retail Sales Trends

The year-over-year percent change provides another perspective on the historical trend. Here is the headline series.

Retail Sales YoY

Core Sales

Here is the year-over-year version of Core Retail Sales.

Core Retail Sales YoY

“Control” Purchases

The next two charts illustrate retail sales “Control” purchases, which is an even more “Core” view of retail sales. This series excludes Motor Vehicles & Parts, Gasoline, Building Materials as well as Food Services & Drinking Places. The popular financial press typically ignores this series, but it a more consistent and reliable reading of the economy.

Control Sales Trends

Here is the same series year-over-year. Note that the current level is above both highlighted values at the start of recessions since the inception of this series in the early 1990s.

Control Sales YoY

For a better sense of the reduced volatility of the “Control” series, here is a YoY overlay with the headline retail sales.

Headline and Control YoY

Bottom Line: June sales showed another slight decrease over the previous month and figures were worse than forecast. On Monday we’ll take a closer look at Real Retail Sales.