After 3 months in a row of falling retail sales in the face of a strengthening economy something had to give. Either the economic conditions were not as robust as other numbers were telling us or it was a temporary glitch affected by weather and other anomalies.
In March the sales rebounded as reported this week. They rose by a strong .6%. Most feel it was finally reflecting the resilient economic expansion. That number was the highest March number since 2015 where it skyrocketed by 1.86%. In September last year it rose 2% and those have been the strongest numbers in several years so a .6% increase is nice but certainly not outstanding.
Auto dealers reported their best month since last September and internet retailers, pharmacies and stores that sell home furnishing were the drivers in the report. It seems the recent weakness was temporary in nature. However, January’s and February’s report will drag on the first quarter GDP number.