March Retail Sales: Retail sales in March increased 0.3% from February and 5% year over year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Online sales were up 7.6% from last year. The category with the largest gain in total sales was general merchandise (6.3%), while the smallest growth was in health and personal care stores (0.4%).
Quality of Life Goes Down: Temkin Group's Well-Being Index is based on consumer attitudes related to happiness, healthiness and financial security, and in 2018 it dropped to 63.4% from 65.9% in 2017. The decline of 2.5 percentage points was the largest since 2012. US consumers rated their happiness at 75.6% and health at 66.7%, but financial security received a 48.0%.
Retail Bankruptcies: If it seems like there have been a lot of bankruptcies in 2018, it's not your imagination. Per Moody's Investors Service, retail bankruptcies were higher in Q1 2018 than ever. Among the most at-risk retailers, according to S&P Global Ratings, are Everest Holdings, operator of Eddie Bauer; FullBeauty Brands, with Woman Within, Roaman's and Brylane Home, among others, under its umbrella; PetSmart; and David's Bridal.