With auto sales rebounding strongly, the Commerce Department released a report on Monday showing retail sales in the USA increased by more than anticipated in the month of March. Sales increased 0.7% from revised up sales of $9.86 billion in February.
Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from February 2018, and 4.7% above past year.
Excluding the jump in auto sales, retail sales edged up by 0.2 percent in March, matching the uptick seen in the previous month as well as economist estimates. Nonstore retailer sales are up 9.7% year-over-year as online retailers continue to grow their market share. Year-over-year core sales increased 4.5%.
Department stores, a subcategory of general merchandise stores, dipped back into negative territory with a 0.9% sales decrease in March from a year ago and were down 0.6% for the quarter. Non-store retailers - primarily e-commerce and catalog businesses - and gas stations tied for the best gain, each with sales up 9.7% from March a year ago. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores was the only other sector to post a year-over-year sales decline in March - down 3.3%.