Brian Jacobsen

Retail sales show some strength

AdvantageVoice® Blog—5-13-13
Brian Jacobsen, Ph.D., CFA, CFP®, Chief Portfolio Strategist

Retail and food service sales for April increased 0.1% from March, according to the advance estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau. March’s decline in sales was revised from -0.4% to -0.5%. Excluding motor vehicle and parts sales, April retail sales declined 0.1%. 

Although the increase in sales seems weak, the parts that showed declines may have primarily been driven by falling commodity prices: Gasoline station sales declined 4.7% and food and beverage store sales declined 0.8%.

General merchandise store sales increased 1.0%, and non-store retailers (for example, online sales) posted a 1.4% increase. Year-on-year, online sales have grown more rapidly than in-store sales, increasing 15.4% versus a decline of 0.7%, respectively. This trend has persisted ever since the advent of online shopping. Online sales are now approximately 78% the size of general merchandise store sales. For general merchandise sales, warehouse clubs and supercenters have the biggest slice of the pie, accounting for more than 61% of sales. Consumers apparently like deals. When job gains and wage increases are weak, consumers may continue to show frugality.      

The views expressed are as of 5-13-13 and are those of Chief Portfolio Strategist Brian Jacobsen, Ph.D., CFA, CFP®, and Wells Fargo Funds Management, LLC. The information and statistics in this report have been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable but are not guaranteed by us to be accurate or complete. Any and all earnings, projections, and estimates assume certain conditions and industry developments, which are subject to change. The opinions stated are those of the author and are not intended to be used as investment advice. The views and any forward-looking statements are subject to change at any time in response to changing circumstances in the market and are not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any individual security, market sector or the markets generally, or any mutual fund. Wells Fargo Funds Management, LLC, disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any views expressed or forward-looking statements.


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