Retail Sales Research Brief
Positive Spending at Necessity Retailers
Contrasts Overall Sales Momentum
Consumers prioritize food and personal care items. For a second consecutive month, total retail sales dropped; however, a pair of necessity-based categories continued to record gains. In March, health and personal care shops registered a third consecutive month of growth, with sales rising 0.3 percent. Meanwhile, grocery store purchasing increased slightly amid a decline in food at home inflation. The divergence between these two segments’ performance and overall retail spending indicates consumers are placing a larger importance on essential goods and passing on big ticket items. Consumers that are still looking to make discretionary purchases may be spending online where discounts exist. Online pricing fell 1.7 percent year-over-year in March, with 10 of 18 major product categories noting declines.