Retail sales: Year-over-year sales grow

National Retail Federation,

Retail sales remained strong on a monthly basis and saw another year-over-year gain in September despite an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve and continuing inflation, the National Retail Federation said today.

“September retail sales confirm that even with rising interest rates, persistent inflation, political uncertainty and volatile global markets, consumers are spending for household priorities,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “As we enter the holiday season, shoppers are increasingly seeking deals and discounts to make their dollars stretch, and retailers are already meeting this demand. However, the Biden administration must enact policy measures to relieve inflationary pressure and lower costs for American families. While the Federal Reserve tackles long-term actions meant to end inflation, we believe removing China tariffs, enacting smart immigration reform to address the worker shortage, and increasing investments in supply chain resiliency can and will have an immediate impact on consumers and the economy.”

“Consumer demand remained intact during September and continues to be a key contributor to economic activity,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “But sales were uneven across retail categories and inflation is the main factor that is determining how much shoppers are willing to spend. Households are tapping into savings, accessing credit and reducing their savings contributions as they meet higher prices head on. Shoppers are looking for bargains and value in the current economic environment and even more so as we head into the holiday season.”

The U.S. Census Bureau today said overall retail sales in September were unchanged from August but up 8.2% year over year. That compared with increases of 0.4% month over month and 9.4% year over year in August. On a three-month moving average, sales were up 9.2% year over year.

NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed September was up 0.3% from August and up 7.2% unadjusted year over year. In August, sales were also up 0.3% month over month and were up 8.5% year over year.

NRF’s numbers were up 7.6% unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of September. Sales were up 7.2% year over year for the first nine months of the year, keeping results on track with NRF’s forecast that 2022 retail sales will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021.

September sales were up in all but one retail category on a yearly basis, led by online sales, building materials stores and grocery stores, and increased in five out of nine categories on a monthly basis. Specifics from key sectors include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 11.5% unadjusted year over year.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were down 0.4% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 9.2% unadjusted year over year.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 0.4% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 6.7% unadjusted year over year.
  • General merchandise stores were up 0.7% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 4.8% unadjusted year over year.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 0.7% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 4.8% unadjusted year over year.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 4.6% unadjusted year over year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 4.5% unadjusted year over year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.7% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 1.5% unadjusted year over year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 0.8% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 8.9% unadjusted year over year.

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 $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 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.

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