March Retail Sales Up
April 15, 2022
sales grew in March even as inflation edged higher.
“March retail sales show that consumers have maintained their ability to
spend in the face of record-level inflation, supply chain issues and
geopolitical unrest,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
“Consumers are adapting and shopping smarter for themselves and their
families. We believe the strength of the consumer can carry the economy
through this considerable economic uncertainty if policymakers implement
measured policies and do not overreact to current conditions.”
“While prices soared in March and eroded spending power, shoppers
remained resilient and sales were healthy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack
Kleinhenz said. “Consumers have the willingness to spend and their
ability to do so has been supported by rapid hiring, increased wages,
larger-than-usual tax refunds and the use of credit. They are largely
dealing with the shock of gas prices but will be facing higher interest
rates as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy in the coming
months. The challenge for the Fed is to cool off demand without pushing
the economy into a dramatic slowdown.”
The U.S. Census Bureau today said overall retail sales in March were up
0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from February and up 6.9 percent year
over year. That compared with increases of 0.8 percent month over month
and 18.2 percent year over year in February. Despite occasional
month-over-month declines, sales have grown year over year every month
since May 2020, according to Census data.
NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers,
gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed March
was unchanged seasonally adjusted from February but up 4 percent
unadjusted year over year. In February, sales were down 0.7 percent
month over month but up 13.2 percent year over year.
NRF’s numbers were up 8.6 percent unadjusted year over year on a
three-month moving average as of March. That is consistent with NRF’s
forecast that 2022 retail sales will increase between 6 percent and 8
percent to total between $4.86 trillion and $4.95 trillion.
March sales were up in all but two categories on both a monthly and
yearly basis, with year-over-year gains led by grocery, clothing and
furniture stores. Specifics from key sectors include:
Grocery and beverage stores were up 1 percent month-over-month
seasonally adjusted and up 7.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Clothing and clothing
accessory stores were up 2.6 percent month-over-month seasonally
adjusted and up 7.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Furniture and home
furnishings stores were up 0.7 percent month-over-month seasonally
adjusted and up 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
stores were up 5.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up
3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Online and other
non-store sales were down 6.4 percent month-over-month seasonally
adjusted but up 2.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
materials and garden supply stores were up 0.5 percent month-over-month
seasonally adjusted and up 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Health and personal care
stores were down 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up
0.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Sporting goods stores
were up 3.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 5.7
percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Electronics and appliance
stores were up 3.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down
9.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.