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September retail sales grew 4.5 percent over last year

WASHINGTON, October 16, 2019 – Retail sales in September were down 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August but up 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“The pullback in September compared with August is possibly a reaction to increased fears over U.S.-China tensions,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While uncertainty around trade policy and other issues has dampened consumer sentiment recently, consumers still have a lot going for them as evidenced by longer-term trends and factors like the tight labor market. September is a tricky month to measure because of seasonal factors like the end of summer and back-to-school spending, and this year’s early Labor Day may have moved up some spending into the last days of August.”

As of September, the three-month moving average was up 4.9 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 4.1 percent in August. September’s results build on gains of 0.5 percent month-over-month and 4.7 percent year-over-year in August.

‘NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall September sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were down 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from August but up 4.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during September include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 15.6 percent year-over-year but down 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 4.2 percent year-over-year and up 0.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 2.6 percent year-over-year but down 0.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 2.5 percent year-over-year but down 1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 1.1 percent year-over-year and up 0.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were unchanged year-over-year but down 0.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were down 0.2 percent year-over-year and down 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.7 percent year-over-year but up 1.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 1.7 percent year-over-year but unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

About NRF

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies. NRF.com

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