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US Retail Sales: Strong auto sales drive sales higher – Wells Fargo

Retail sales in the US, rebounded in March (+0.6%) after falling during the previous three months. According to analysts from Wells Fargo, sales were  driven by strong auto sales, health & personal care and nonstore retailers’ sales.

Key Quotes: 

“Driven by strong motor vehicle & parts dealers’ sales, up 2.0 percent in March, the retail & food services’ index increased 0.6 percent after three consecutive monthly declines. The increase of 2.0 percent in motor vehicle & parts dealers’ sales came after a decline of 1.3 percent in February.”

“The overall March retail sales report was relatively mixed, with very strong sectors as well as very weak sectors. However, the control group retail index, which goes into the calculation of GDP, was relatively strong, up 0.4 percent, registering the first positive reading since November of last year when it rose a strong 1.2 percent.”

“Although we still expect a relatively weak consumer during the first quarter of the year, the better-than-expected retail sales report today plus the relatively strong control group sales number will keep first quarter consumption from being a complete disappointment after such a strong quarter at the end of last year.”

“This report was relatively strong and will likely help revert some of the weakness we saw during the first two months of the year.”