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US Retail Sales: Details were not as strong as the top number  – Wells Fargo

Retail sales increased a less than expected, but still strong, 0.4 percent while control group sales inched up also a less than expected 0.3 percent, however, analysts at Wells Fargo noted, both indices were upwardly revised in November. 

Key Quotes: 

“Retail and food services sales increased a less than expected 0.4 percent in December, lower than the 0.5 percent expected by markets. However, the November number, which was already strong, up 0.8 percent, was revised up to 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, retail sales excluding automobiles were up a higher than expected 0.4 percent and were also upwardly revised, from 1.0 percent to 1.3 percent in November. Retail sales excluding automobiles and gasoline were up 0.4 percent, matching expectations. However, these sales were upwardly revised in November, from 0.8 percent to 1.2 percent.”

“However, while the year ended strongly for retail sales overall, the details were not as strong as the top number showed. Gasoline sales were flat during the last month of the year, probably accounting for the decline in gasoline prices in December, something that will probably be reversed in
January.”

“Control group sales growth in December was 0.3 percent versus expectations of a 0.4 percent increase. However, the upward revision to control group sales in November, up 1.4 percent versus an original 0.8 percent, probably guarantees that personal consumption expenditures (PCE) will be very strong in Q4-2017. Furthermore, revised retail sales numbers for November show that Black Friday sales were probably a true game changer for the retail industry in 2017.”
 

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