US rebound evaporates as retail sales slump

Peter Spence
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US retail sales growth missed expectations in April (Source: Getty)

Not the number analysts were looking for.

US retail sales grew by a meagre 0.1 per cent in April, a shadow of March's estimated 1.5 per cent leap (which has today been revised down to 0.4 per cent).

Analysts at HSBC expected sales "to turn in a solid performance, as households continued to make up for spending that was delayed during the winter".

Instead, growth has lost momentum, implying something more serious might be wrong with the US economy. Economists had forecast sales growth of 0.4 per cent this April.

Other indices for April had been fairly bullish, but Societe Generale suggested that falling auto-dealer revenues would likely cap any advances in retail sales. They noted in a preview for this sales data that motor vehicle manufacturers reported a 2.1 per cent fall in unit sales during April.

Excluding autos, retail sales growth was non-existent, rather than the 0.6 per cent increase analysts had forecast.