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Consumer Spending Basket Changes In March, More on Gas, Less on Amazon

There was a big change in consumer spending patterns in March towards gas and away from other goods.
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Advance Retail Sales from Commerce Department, chart by Mish

Advance Retail Sales from Commerce Department, chart by Mish

Advance Retail Sales Additional Month-Over-Month Comparisons

Advance Retail Sales from Commerce Department, chart by Mish

Advance Retail Sales from Commerce Department, chart by Mish

Advance Retail Sales Details

  • Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2022, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $665.7 billion, an increase of 0.5 percent from the previous month, and 6.9 percent above March 2021.
  • Total sales for the January 2022 through March 2022 period were up 12.9 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • The January 2022 to February 2022 percent change was revised from up 0.3 percent to up 0.8 percent. Retail trade sales were up 0.4 percent from February 2022, and up 5.5 percent above last year.
  • Gasoline stations were up 37.0 percent from March 2021, while food services and drinking places were up 19.4 percent from last year. 

Key Chart Points 

  • Total Sales: +0.5% 
  • Gas Station Sales: +8.9%
  • Nonstore Sales (e.g. Amazon): -6.4%
  • Motor Vehicles and Parts: -1.9%
  • Excluding Motor Vehicles: +1.1%
  • Excluding Motor Vehicles and Gas: +0.2%
  • Food Stores: +1.0%
  • Food Service: +1.0%

Consumers spent but that is quite a shift away from Amazon and vehicles towards more on gas. 

These numbers are not adjusted for inflation. This was not robust spending despite the overall jump of 0.5 percent.

CPI Rips Higher to 8.5 Percent From a Year Ago, the Most Since 1981

For discussion of the CPI, please see CPI Rips Higher to 8.5 Percent From a Year Ago, the Most Since 1981

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Expect more spending changes as the Fed hikes and home sales plunge. There will be a big decline in demand for appliances, paint, landscaping, and furniture. 

Q: What will merchants do with all the inventory they ordered with more on the way?
A: Think discounts 

Other than rents, peak inflation year-over-year may be in.

This post originated at MishTalk.Com.

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