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Deep Dive: Retail X Factor— The US Economy

Executive Summary

  • This is the first report in our X Factor series in which we identify themes that we believe will be critical for the US retail landscape throughout 2017 and beyond. In this report, we look at the macroeconomic backdrop in the first quarter of 2017, and analyze the economic outlook and how this could impact retail for the rest of the year.
  • In 1Q17, the US economy saw its weakest real GDP growth of 0.7% since 2014, mainly due to a warm winter which inhibited the consumption of goods and services. One beneficiary of this warmer winter was the US housing market, which saw 8.1% more housing starts and 15.6% more new home sales than last year.
  • Another sign of the strength of the overall economy is the unemployment rate, which is at a historical low of 4.4%.
  • Retail sales experienced year-over-year growth of 5.7%, 5.9% and 5.4%, respectively, in the first three months of the year, driven by increasing inflation and gains in income.
  • We expect favorable policies, including tax cuts, and strong fundamental macro data to support growth for the remainder of 2017.


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