Market Overview

October Retail Sales Up 4.3 Percent Over Last Year

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Retail sales in October increased 0.1 percent over September on a
seasonally adjusted basis and were up 4.3 percent year-over-year
unadjusted, according to calculations released today by the National
Retail Federation. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations
and restaurants.

"There was broad strength across most sectors, and households clearly
have the wherewithal to spend going into the holiday season," NRF Chief
Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "The uplift in October payroll and income
has generated a healthy pace of retail spending and household debt
burdens are historically low. Congressional action on tax reform should
help boost confidence, but it is important that lawmakers keep up their
momentum and not let details of the legislation get in the way of
achieving such a long-sought goal."

Sales at building materials stores were down from September after a
surge that followed late-summer hurricanes, but weather continues to
play a role in consumer spending.

"Weather is always an important factor for seasonal purchases, and the
cooler temperatures experienced in later October and early November
should provide a good start for winter purchases," Kleinhenz said.

October sales were up 4.1 percent on a three-month moving average
compared with the same period a year ago.

Specifics include:

  • Sporting goods stores showed the strongest increase, up 1.5 percent
    seasonally adjusted over September but down 2.4 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  • Clothing and accessories stores were up 0.8 percent seasonally
    adjusted over September and up 0.4 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were also up 0.8 percent seasonally
    adjusted over September and up 4.8 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.7 percent seasonally
    adjusted over September and up 4.8 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were also up 0.7 percent seasonally
    adjusted over September and up 2.1 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were unchanged from September but up 1.4
    percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Online and other non-store sales were down 0.3 percent seasonally
    adjusted from September but up 9.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Building materials and supplies stores were down 1.2 percent
    seasonally adjusted from September but up 11 percent year-over-year
    unadjusted.

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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