The Forecast File: US Retail Sales For January

Retail Sales in U.S. Probably Rose by the Most in Four Months
Bloomberg | Feb 14
Sales at U.S. retailers probably rose in January by the most in four months, led by growing demand for autos, economists said before a report today. The projected 0.8 percent increase would follow a 0.1 percent December advance, according to the median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Retail sales key to U.S. economic recovery
MarketWatch | Feb 12
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch predict retail sales jumped a sharp 1% last month, which would mark the biggest increase since September. Retail spending minus the auto sector, whose sales have been surging, is expected to rise 0.7%.
Retail Sales Rose in January: U.S. Economy Preview
International Business Times | Feb 13
Sales at U.S. retailers probably climbed in January as Americans bought more new cars and shoppers took advantage of post-holiday promotions, a sign that the U.S. economy is recovering, economists said before a report this week.The projected 0.7 percent gain in purchases would follow a 0.1 percent increase in December, according to the median forecast of economists survey by Thomson Reuters.
Week ahead February 13-17
Handelsbanken Capital Markets | Feb 13
We expect retail sales in current prices to increase m-o-m by 0.5 percent in January,
versus 0.1 percent in December. Consensus forecasts an increase of 0.7 percent for the month of January. Our forecast is that retail sales ex autos in current prices likely increased by 0.4 percent in January, versus a decline of 0.2 percent in December. Consensus forecasts an ex auto reading of 0.5 percent in January.
What to Expect From the U.S. Retail Sales Report
FX Street | Feb 14
A few leading consumer spending reports also hint that retail sales were up during the month. For instance, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, retail stores that have been open for more than a year (excluding Wal-Mart stores) saw a 4.8% jump in sales following the 3.5% increase in December. Thomson Reuters also reported that same-store sales grew by 4.2% during the month, more than double the 2.0% forecast. The surge in car sales has also gotten market junkies giddy. Autodata, publisher of technical charts for automotive professionals, reported that purchases of light trucks and cars reached an annualized amount of 14.1 million in January. FYI, this is the biggest amount we’ve seen since August 2009. Last but not the least, the need to replenish inventories during the month also must have gotten businesses spending. Business inventories rose by 0.4% and topped the 0.3% increase we saw in December. Now before you get too excited, you should know that the retail sales report has missed expectations in the last couple of months. Yikes! Looking at the past two releases, it’s also noteworthy to point out that the report had a direct correlation with the U.S. dollar, at least within the first few minutes after the release.
Economic & Financial Commentary
Wells Fargo | Feb 10
On Tuesday we get retail sales for the month of January and the expectation is for a relatively strong recovery compared to the 0.1 percent growth rate recorded in December. In fact, we are expecting growth to have been 1.1 percent compared to a consensus expectation of only 0.6 percent and the highest since the 1.3 percent growth rate reported in September 2011.
Excluding autos, we are also above consensus, which expects a 0.5 percent increase, at 0.8 percent after a drop of 0.2 percent for December. Thus, we are expecting the year to have started on a very positive note for retail sales. The only caveat for retail sales is that the strength may also be related to the same weather phenomenon that has affected other indicators early in the year, as the winter season has been one of the warmest in many decades in the United States.