Retail sales soft in September

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Retail sales soft in September

By Marianne Wilson - 10/15/2018
Retail sales came in a bit softer than expected in September.

Retail sales in September inched up 0.4% in September over August on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 3% year-over-year unadjusted, according to the National Retail Federation. (The NRF numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, overall September sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.1 %. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase of 0.6%. Retail sales in September rose 4.7% from a year ago.

“Retail sales were somewhat softer than expected in September and some of the weakness can be attributed to Hurricane Florence and geopolitical trade concerns,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Recent solid wage gains and other fundamentals continue to propel spending, which has been supported by tax cuts, saving and access to credit. Today’s numbers confirm an underlying strength in the industry and a solid trajectory as we go into the fourth quarter.”

The September numbers come as retail continues a long-term pattern of increased sales, according to NRF. Total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF — excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants — have increased year-over-year in all but one month since the beginning of 2010.

Specifics from key retail sectors during September include:
• Online and other non-store sales were up 8.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
• Electronics and appliance stores sales were up 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
• General merchandise stores sales were up 3.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
• Clothing and accessories stores sales were up 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
• Food and beverage stores sales were up 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
• Health and personal care stores sales were up 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year and down 0.3 percent from August.
• Furniture and home furnishings stores sales were up 1.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
• Sporting goods stores sales were down 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
• Building materials and supplies stores sales were down 0.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August.

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