March Retail Sales Edged Down from February Levels

Online sellers' receipts rose a bit in the month

April 14, 2017

US retail sales in March slipped a bit from February levels but rose 5.2% year over year, the Commerce Department reported

Meanwhile, the estimate for February was revised to show a decline of 0.3% from January. The initial estimate had February sales pegging 0.1% increase.

Excluding sales of cars and auto parts, March sales were unchanged from the previous month.

"Nonstore retailers," which includes online sellers, registered a small gain in March over the previous month. Sales in the category were up 11.9% year over year.

Gas station receipts slipped 1% from February but were 14.3% higher than in March 2016. Those gains are driven mainly by higher gas prices, which are up roughly the same amount over last year's levels.

Unusually cold weather in March in much of the US was expected to cut into certain categories. Building materials and garden supplies retailers saw sales slip 1.3% from the previous month.