Market Overview

September Retail Sales Up after Hurricanes Increase Demand for Building Supplies

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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.

Specifics include:

  • 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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