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October Retail Sales
Increased 5.6% Over Last Year

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Retail sales in October increased 0.4% over September on a seasonally- adjusted basis and were up 5.6% year-over-year unadjusted, according to calculations released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF). The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants.

“Today’s pickup in retail sales shows a healthy pace of spending and a sign of ongoing consumer strength which is consistent with the state of the U.S. economy,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The figures bolster expectations for the major shopping period of the year, the holidays. Thanks to a high level of consumer confidence surrounding the current and future economy, we expect spending to maintain its strong momentum.”

“The pickup in October was also due in part to delayed spending associated with the hurricanes in early fall,” Kleinhenz said.

October sales were up 4.3% on a three-month moving average compared with the same period a year ago.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which released overall October sales – including automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants – that were up 0.8% seasonally adjusted from September and 4.6% above October 2017.

Specifics from key retail sectors during September include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 13.9% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from September.
  • Building materials and supplies stores sales were up 6.5% unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.0% seasonally adjusted from September.
  • Clothing and accessories stores sales were up 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from September.
  • Food and beverage stores sales were up 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from September.   
  • Health and personal care stores sales were up 3.6% unadjusted year-over-year and unchanged from September.
  • General merchandise stores sales were up 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from September.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores sales were up 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year and down 0.3% seasonally adjusted from September.
  • Electronics and appliance stores sales were up 2.4% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.7% seasonally adjusted from September.
  • Sporting goods stores sales were down 7% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from September.

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

About NRF

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., the NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

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