September provides uplift for retail sales

Retail sales saw a slight increase of 0.2 percent in September compared with August, and grew a strong 3.5 percent year-over-year, according to numbers released today by the National Retail Federation. The calculations exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“Consumers are spending, the picture is improving and shoppers should be in a position to spend more freely, especially as we move into the holiday season.”

Jack Kleinhenz
NRF Chief Economist

“This much-needed bounce in retail sales should allay some fears that the overall economy is losing its propulsion,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “September's uplift came from recent job and wage improvements and modest increase in credit use, punctuated by increased consumer optimism regarding current and future economic conditions.”  

“Consumers are spending, the picture is improving and shoppers should be in a position to spend more freely, especially as we move into the holiday season,” Kleinhenz said.

The Commerce Department said today that overall September retail sales saw an increase of 0.6 percent from August.

Building supply stores, sporting goods and furniture stores led growth in September but were offset by setbacks in electronics, appliances, drug stores and general merchandise.

A few specifics from the report include:

  • Online and other non-store sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 10.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sales at clothing and accessories stores were flat over the previous month and increased 2.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sales at general merchandise stores decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and decreased 1.5 percent year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliances stores’ sales decreased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and decreased 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores’ sales increased 1 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 3.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sales at building materials and supplies stores increased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 6.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods stores’ sales increased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and decreased 0.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.  
  • Sales at health and personal care stores decreased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 5.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.