Retail sales rose in March as inflation soared.

Retail sales rose 0.5% in March, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, climbing for the third consecutive month as prices continued...

Retail sales rose 0.5% in March, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, climbing for the third consecutive month as prices continued to rise across the country.

The rise in sales came after spending rose 0.8% in February and 3.8% in January. Economists said higher prices for goods were likely inflating sales data, the latest Consumer price index showing that prices rose 8.5% in March compared to the previous year.

“The surge in gasoline prices has significantly improved total retail sales,” said Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P Global.

Gas prices were already rising as oil suppliers scrambled to meet growing demand from businesses and consumers recovering from pandemic disruptions. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused prices to spike again after Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia, including cutting the country’s energy exports. The invasion sent gasoline prices to their highest levels since 2008, with the national average price for a gallon topping $4 in March, although prices have since fallen somewhat.

Spending at gas stations rose 8.9% in March, the report said, and sales at electronics and clothing stores also rose. Spending at car dealerships fell about 2%, while e-commerce sales fell 6.4%.

Companies are starting to report profits for the first three months of the year, which could give a better picture of how companies are negotiating supply chain issues and raising prices to offset rising costs of production and transportation.

With prices climbing at their fastest pace in over 40 years, companies like PepsiCo and General Mills have already increased the prices of their products and may increase them even more in 2022.

Delta Airlines said Wednesday it expects a fare increase in the second quarter to offset rising fuel costs. Airlines including Spirit and United will release their quarterly earnings reports next week, which could give an indication of how rising gasoline prices are affecting these carriers.

“It’s hard to see prices dropping dramatically anytime soon, especially for gasoline,” Ms Bovino said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Retail sales rose in March as inflation soared.
Retail sales rose in March as inflation soared.
Newsrust - US Top News
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