Retail Sales to Be Closely Watched This Week

cash register, not fullConsumer spending is said to make up close to 70% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), so that means that retail sales are of a paramount importance. This Tuesday we will get to see the monthly retail sales report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. We usually get to see enough same-store sales data ahead of this report to get a general direction, but investors are likely to pay much closer attention to this report at 8:30 Eastern Time on Tuesday.

Bloomberg has a consensus estimate for a gain of 0.6% for the month of June. The range of Bloomberg estimates is 0.5% to 1.3%.

On an ex-auto basis, that is also expected to be a gain of 0.6%. The ex-auto range of estimates is 0.4% to 1.2%.

As a reminder, that -2.9% GDP report from the first quarter is why this report will matter so much. June marks the end of the quarter, and that means there will be a semi-final unrevised level to finish up the quarter. We urge readers to recall that retail sales in May disappointed in the middle of the quarter. That may be partly offset by revisions higher for April, what was hopefully a snap-back after more than two months of soft retail spending due to weather in the first quarter.

Retail sales were up 0.3% in May and 0.5% in April. One wild card for revisions in May and the preliminary June report was a steady rise in gasoline prices at the pump. This has abated marginally, but crude oil remains a hair above that $100 per barrel mark.

Again, most of the directional data in retail sales has already been seen by the time the formal retail sales report is issued. Still, this is going to be watched closer than usual, particularly in light of softness seen from so many retail names in the last couple of weeks.

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