September Retail Sales Up After Hurricanes Increase Demand for Building Supplies
WASHINGTON, October 13, 2017 – Retail sales in September increased 0.5 percent over August on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 3.2 percent year-over-year unadjusted, according to calculations released today by the National Retail Federation. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“Retail appears to have navigated through some rough weather – literally,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Hurricane impacts were very clear, with a strong boost for building materials going a long way to offset downturns elsewhere. Results were mixed among several business lines but the bottom line was a good increase over August and strong growth from a year ago. While the hurricanes played a major role in the data, they did not fundamentally affect the upward path of the economy.”
September sales were up 3.6 percent on a three-month moving average compared with the same period a year ago.
- Building materials and supplies stores showed the strongest increase, up 2.1 percent over August seasonally adjusted and up 7.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Online and other non-store sales were up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from August and up 5.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Clothing and accessories stores were up 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from August and up 1.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- General merchandise stores were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over August and up 4.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Electronics and appliance stores led declines, down 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August and down 5.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from August but up 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Health and personal care stores were down 0.4 percent from August and down 0.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Sporting goods stores were down 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from August and down 4.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
The September 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 NRF – excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants— have increased year-over-year in all but one month since the beginning of 2010.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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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