Market Overview

Retail Sales Down Slightly in August From July But Up Over 2016

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Retail sales in August decreased by 0.2 percent from July on a
seasonally adjusted basis, according to calculations released today by
the National Retail Federation. On a year-over-year basis August sales
showed some strength, increasing 3.7 percent unadjusted. The numbers
exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

"Retail sales for August were truly a mixed bag, with monthly gains in
July reversed in August," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "The
bottom line is that consumer spending is uneven but remains resilient
and the key contributor to U.S. economic growth."

"While it is too early to assess the impact Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
have had on the economy and retail sales, there's no doubt that they
will impact consumer spending – particularly in certain sectors – as
Florida and Texas work to rebuild." Kleinhenz said.

Year-over-year growth was up 3.4 percent on a three-month moving average.

Specifics include:

  • Online and other non-store sales decreased 1.1 percent
    seasonally adjusted from July but increased 8 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  • Clothing and accessories stores decreased 1 percent seasonally
    adjusted from July but increased 1.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores increased 0.2 percent seasonally
    adjusted over July and increased 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliances stores decreased 0.7 percent
    seasonally adjusted from July and decreased 3.3 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores increased 0.4 percent
    seasonally adjusted over July and increased 5.9 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  • Building materials and supplies stores decreased 0.5 percent
    from July but increased 8.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods stores decreased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted
    from July and decreased 1.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores increased 0.1 percent over July
    and increased 0.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

The August 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.

About NRF

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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