Main takeaways (
  • February retail sales weaker than consensus; cumulative sales in Dec/Jan revised lower.
  • Most sell-side analysts revised their consumption estimates down, taking a couple of tenths out of expected GDP growth for 1Q 16 (currently in the 1.4% to 2.5% range).
  • Softer retail sales can be attributed to tighter financial conditions and some setback in consumer confidence…
  • …but, in my view, the bulk of the current slowdown continues to be driven by gasoline sales (retail gas prices dropped 10% in February).