April 18, 2022
Today the U.S. Census Bureau released preliminary estimates of nationwide retail sales in March 2022 and revised estimates for February 2022. (The data include both brick-and-mortar and Internet sales.)
Retail Sales Remain Elevated. Seasonally adjusted U.S. retail sales grew 0.5 percent from February to March. Retail sales have been elevated after growing dramatically in the early months of 2021. Cumulative twelve-month growth in sales from March 2021 to March 2022 was 6.9 percent.
Inflation-Adjusted Retail Sales Have Declined. Across all goods and services purchased by consumers, U.S. prices grew 8.5 percent from March 2021 to March 2022. Prices for tangible goods—especially gasoline—grew faster than the 8.5 percent headline inflation number. These price increases have more than offset the apparent “growth” in retail sales.