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October Retail Sales Grew 4.2% Over Last Year

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

From National Retail Federation

Retail sales in October increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over September and were up 4.2% unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants.

“Despite the gradual slowdown in the U.S. economy, consumers are in a good place and October’s retail sales are a step forward into the all-important holiday season,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Uncertainty around trade policy has impacted consumer sentiment recently, but ongoing job growth, low interest rates, low inflation, and the stock market hitting record highs provide support for consumer spending.”

October’s results make up for most of the 0.3% month-over-month decline seen in September and build on September’s year-over-year increase of 4.1%. As of October, the three-month moving average was up 4.3% over the same period a year ago, compared with 4.7% in September.

Kleinhenz said October’s year-over-year growth was particularly impressive because it compares with October 2018 sales that were up an unusually strong 5.8% over the same month in 2017.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall October sales – including auto dealers, gas stations, and restaurants – were up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from September and up 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during October include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6% year-over-year and up 0.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 4% year-over-year and up 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were up 1.9% year-over-year and up 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 1.7% year-over-year but unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 1.6% year-over-year but down 0.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were up 0.4% year-over-year but down 0.8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were down 0.2% year-over-year and down 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 1.7% year-over-year and down 1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Electronics and appliance stores were down 3% year-over-year and down 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

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