Published: Sun, October 18, 2020
Economy | By

Retail Sales Rose 1.9% in September

Retail Sales Rose 1.9% in September

In September, nonstore retailers were up 23.8% year over year, while building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 19.1% from September 2020. The retail-sales report doesn't track spending on most services, such as health care and hospitality, which make up the bulk of US consumer spending. Retailers and consumers are adapting to the current environment, embracing shopping in different ways and focusing on specific categories. Businesses and consumers are coming out of the policy-induced economic coma, and while aggregate retail spending is at a new high, results still vary greatly by industry.

"A significant number of people remain unemployed, but more are going back to work, and that makes them confident about spending", said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. With less spending on personal services such as travel and entertainment outside the home, some of that money is shifting to retail cash registers.

But the outlook for the overall economy remains murky.

Commerce reported that total September retail sales-at $549.3 billion-were up 1.9 over August and were up 5.4% annually. This reading followed August's increase of 0.6% and came in better than the market expectation of 0.7%. Apart from auto sales, retail sales rose by 1.5% last month.

Retail sales increased in September for the fifth month in a row, as consumers prepared for further months of working and studying from home by spending strongly on vehicles, sporting goods and at home-improvement stores.

Retail sales returned to pre-pandemic levels in June and have pushed higher every month since then.


Three-quarters of retail categories saw both month-over-month and year-over-year increases. Vehicle sales also had a solid gain, rising 5.7 percent to a 3.7 annual rate versus 3.5 in August and 2.0 in April (see bottom of second chart). But purchases at electronics and appliance stores fell 1.6% after months of strong gains. Receipts at clothing stores jumped 11.0%.

Sporting goods stores were up 5.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 18.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

General merchandise stores were up 1.8% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 4.1% unadjusted year over year. Department stores, a subset of the category, were up 9.7 percent month-over-month.

Nonetheless, economists say the high rate of personal savingshoppers socked away 14.1% of disposable revenue this August in contrast with 7.3% a 12 months earlierhas given households gasoline to spend, regardless of the lower to an additional $600 per week in jobless advantages on the finish of July.

Online and other non-store sales were up 0.5 month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 27 percent unadjusted year-over-year. USA industrial manufacturinga measure of output at factories, mines and utilitiesfell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September, snapping 4 months of development, the Federal Reserve mentioned Friday.

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