Gasoline Stations were up 9.7% from March 2017, while Nonstore Retailers were up 9.7% from previous year.
Washington, DC, April 16, 2018-Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2018 were $494.6 billion, an increase of 0.6% from the previous month, and 4.5% above March 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales at nonstore retailers grew 0.8% following February's 0.9% increase.
Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from February 2018, and 4.7% above previous year.
The modest increase in ex-auto sales partly reflected a 1.4 percent spike in sales by health and personal care stores. 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%. February's number was upwardly revised to reflect a 0.1% decrease.
"Overall, consumer spending has been disappointing in 1Q18, which is partially weather-related, but today's report suggests the slowdown was transitory", said James Knightley, Chief International Economist at ING.
From January 2018 through March, sales for furniture and home furnishings stores jumped 4.5% from the first quarter a year ago, the DOC said, the fifth greatest sector gain.