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3 ETF Areas & Stocks to Win on Upbeat March Retail Sales

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U.S. retail sales were better than expected in March after returning to a growth trajectory in February. On Apr 15, the Department of Commerce reported that retail sales grew 0.7% month over month in March, well above the consensus estimate of 0.3%. Moreover, February’s data was revised upward to an increase of 0.9% from 0.6% reported earlier.

Year over year, retail sales increased 3.6% in March primarily owing to a resilient labor market and a higher-than-expected rise in wage rates. Notably, the metric for both January and December was negative.

Core retail sales (excluding auto) grew 1.1% month over month in March, well above the consensus estimate of 0.5%. Moreover, February’s data was revised upward to an increase of 0.6% from 0.3% reported earlier.

Below we highlight a few areas and the related ETFs & stocks that may benefit handsomely from the retail sales.

Winning Areas

Non-Store Retailers

Sales at non-store retailers rose 11.3% year over year in March 2024. On a sequential basis, sales gained 2.7% in March.

Amplify Online Retail ETF (IBUY - Free Report) – The underlying index of the fund utilizes a rule-based methodology to select a globally diversified group of companies with 70% or more sales coming online and virtually. The fund charges 65 bps in fees. (AMZN - Free Report) – is one of the largest e-commerce providers, with sprawling operations in North America, now spreading across the globe. The stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

General Merchandise & Grocery Stores

General merchandise stores see a year-over-year sales increase of 5.7% while sales in this category rose 1.1% month over month.

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP - Free Report) – The Consumer Staples Select Sector Index seeks to provide an effective representation of the consumer staples sector of the S&P 500 Index. The fund charges 10 bps in fees. The fund has a Zacks Rank #3 at present.

Walmart (WMT - Free Report) – The Zacks Rank #3 company has evolved from a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer to an omnichannel player.

Food and Drink Places

Sales at restaurants and bars increased 6.5% year over year while sales have risen 0.4% sequentially.

AdvisorShares Restaurant ETF (EATZ - Free Report) – The AdvisorShares Restaurant ETF is an actively managed exchange-traded fund that seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets in securities of companies that derive at least 50% of their net revenue from the restaurant business. The fund charges 101 bps in fees.

CAVA Group Inc. (CAVA - Free Report) – CAVA Group Inc. is a category-defining Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant brand which brings heart, health and humanity to food. The fund has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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