Retail sales up in September with impressive year-over-year gains

Andrew Cummings
October 18, 2020

In August, retail sales increased 0.6%.

Unemployment remains a problem - one that promises to last into the holiday shopping season - but the new retail sales figures reflect positive trends, according to another NRF official. Friday's report show retail and food services grew by nearly 2% in September.

NRF's calculation of retail sales which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants in order to focus on core retail showed September was up 1.3 percent seasonally adjusted from August and up 12 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Spending on clothing, cars and sporting goods pushed U.S. retail sales above expectations in September, government data said Friday, indicating consumers were still buying even without more government aid.

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.

Kleinhenz noted that some of that money traditionally spent on such items as travel and entertainment has shifted to retail cash registers.


September marked the fourth straight month of year-over-year gains, the NRF said. "All in all, these numbers and other economic data show the nation's economy remains on its recovery path".

Three-quarters of retail categories saw both month-over-month and year-over-year increases.

Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 11 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 12 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

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

General merchandise stores were up 1.8 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 4.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

But those provisions have expired and lawmakers have been unable to agree for months on another measure that could restore the support, raising fears Americans wary of economic conditions will stop spending. US industrial manufacturinga measure of output at factories, mines and utilitiesfell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September, snapping four months of growth, the Federal Reserve talked about Friday.


Health and personal care stores were up 1.7% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 7.8% unadjusted year over year.

Sales at non-store retailers, such as the e-commerce sites consumers relied to avoid the virus, were up 23.8 percent year-on-year.

Food and beverage stores were virtually unchanged month over month seasonally adjusted, but up 11.5% unadjusted year over year.

Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 7.5% unadjusted year over year.

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