Retail Trade, March 2013, published May 22

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Featured | 0 comments

Retail sales in March 2013 were $39.5 billion, unchanged from February and up 1.1% from March 2012.  Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers and by gasoline stations, retail sales were up by 0.8% from March 2012.

After removing the effects of price changes, particularly lower gasoline prices, retail sales in volume terms were up 0.7% from February.  Increases in month-over-month sales were reported in 6 of 11 sectors representing 47% of total retail sales.  Total retail sales for the first three months of 2013 were $118.3 billion, up 1.1% over the same period last year.

Sales in the building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers sector in March were $2.2 billion, up 0.1% from February but a 2.9% decrease from March 2012.  Total retail sales for this sector for the first three months of 2013 were $6.7 billion, down 2.3% over the same period last year.  While sales moved up 0.1% from February, they have been relatively flat since the middle of 2012.

The motor vehicle and parts dealers sector saw sales increase 0.7% from February and rise by 1.7% from March 2012.  Gasoline station sales were down 1.3% from February but increased by 1.8% from March 2012.  March’s decline from February in gasoline station sales mainly reflected lower prices at the pump.

Sales at food and beverage stores were down 0.1% from February to March. This loss mainly reflected sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores, which were unchanged from a month earlier. Sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores were up 1.6% from March 2012.

General merchandise stores sales decreased 0.6% from February but were 0.3% higher than in March 2012, standing at $5.0 billion.  “General merchandise stores” include department stores, warehouse clubs, superstores and home and auto supplies stores and account for 12% of total retail sales.  Department store sales fell 0.6% from February and were down 2.2% from March 2012.  Food and non-alcoholic beverages account for approximately 25% of sales at general merchandise stores.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.3% from February at $1.3 billion and increased 1.7% from March 2012.  Sales at electronics and appliance stores fell 0.9% from February to $1.2 billion.  They were down 5.8% from March 2012.  No change was recorded in month-over-month sales by health and personal care stores.  Sales were up 4.1% from March 2012.