Automobiles power United States retail sales in March

Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March

And it added that gasoline stations sales rose 9.7% annually, and non-store retailers, which includes e-commerce, saw a 9.7% annual gain. On a year-on-year basis, building material sales rose a sound 5.3 percent year-on-year, and the fall in March probably reflects a give back after post-hurricane rebuilding activity in earlier months, noted TD Economics in a research report. Without auto sales, the total retail sales gain for the month was 0.2 percent.

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. Compared with March 2017, the total is 4.7 percent higher.

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.

"This month's decline in the Empire State six-month forward index may reflect trade-related uncertainties and the associated volatility of stocks, or other factors", said Roiana Reid, an economist at Berenberg Capital Markets in NY.

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Retail spending in the world's largest economy gained 0.6 per cent for the month, rising to US$494.6 billion, overshooting economists' expectations and marking the biggest gain since November.

Online and other non-store sales were up 7.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.8 percent over February seasonally adjusted. Compared with a year ago, however, auto sales didn't make that much difference: total retail sales were 4.5 percent higher when vehicle sales are factored out. Gas-station sales dropped 0.3 percent, the most since July, according to the Commerce report.

Grocery and beverage stores were up 5.9% year-over-year and up 0.2% from February.

But they fell at home and garden stores, clothing shops and sporting goods stores.

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