Retail sales see bounce back from August to September, says Commerce and NRF

Following a decline in August, retail sales rebounded in September, according to data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

By ·

Following a decline in August, retail sales rebounded in September, according to data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Commerce reported that September retail sales saw a 0.6 percent increase over August at $459.8 billion and were up 2.7 percent annually. Total sales for the July 2016 to August 2016 period were up 2.4 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Retail trade sales saw a 2.2 percent annual gain and were up 0.6 percent from August to September.
And nonstore retailers were up 10.6 percent compared to September and were up 6.1
percent annually.

The NRF reported that retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, were up 0.2 percent from August to September, following a 0.3 percent dip from July to August, with September retail sales up 4.1 percent annually.

“This much-needed bounce in retail sales should allay some fears that the overall economy is losing its propulsion,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz wrote in a blog posting. “September’s uplift came from recent job and wage improvements and modest increase in credit use, punctuated by increased consumer optimism regarding current and future economic conditions. Consumers are spending, the picture is improving and shoppers should be in a position to spend more freely, especially as we move into the holiday season.”

Earlier this month, the NRF issued a positive forecast for Holiday Sales.

These sales, as defined by the NRF, are sales in the months of November and December and exclude autos, gas, and restaurant sales. And for 2016 the NRF is calling for holiday retail sales to head up 3.6 percent annually to $655.8 million, which marks a decent boost compared to the 10-year average of 2.5 percent and is also above the seven-year average of 3.4 percent, going back to the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009.

As expected, e-commerce is again expected to play a large role in holiday shopping, with the NRF saying it expects online sales to head up between 7 and 10 percent annually to as much as $117 billion, which is 10.3 percent higher than last year’s online holiday sales projection.

While the NRF’s holiday sales forecast is promising it is actually slightly off from 2015’s and 2014’s 3.7 percent and 4.1 percent forecasts, respectively.  The 2015 holiday shopping season ended up seeing a 3.0 percent annual increase.

The NRF’s holiday sales forecast, according to the organization, is based on an economic model that uses several different types of indicators, including consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly sales releases

“Retail sales ended the third quarter on a high note, but the first two months were not very good,” wrote IHS Global Insight US Economist Chris Christopher in a research note. “After a dismal showing in August, several retail sectors made a comeback in September, including autos, furniture, building materials, sporting goods, and online. Clothing stores and electronics had a good August, but a not-so-good September. The onliners are clearly taking share from the traditional department stores. Department stores and general merchandise have been under water for three months in a row.  Restaurants have been and will continue to outpace grocery stores sales.”

Christopher added that the back-to-school retail season was a downer for the most part this year. It is very clear that consumers are learning that they can wait for better, deeper, and stronger price discounting that start in early November – holiday shopping is cannibalizing the back-to-school retail sales.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Maximizing Your Sales Team’s Effectiveness
Companies need to examine how to restructure their sales team to respond to different customers and subsequent buying behaviors and preferences.
Download Today!
From the November 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships into true, collaborative partnerships—and greatly strengthened its logistics and supply chain operations in the process.
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: 2017 Awards Dinner
Trucking Regulations: Washington U-Turns; States put hammer down
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Make Your Products Smarter in the Supply Chain with the IoT
This webinar explores how temperature-sensing smart labels and inexpensive NFC tags are being used to extend product safety and efficiency beyond the shipping dock while also building a communication bridge to your customers.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 NASSTRAC Shipper of the Year: Mallinckrodt; Mastering and managing complexity
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships...
2017 Alliance Awards: Recognizing outstanding supply chain partnerships
In an era where effective supply chain collaboration is both highly valued and elusive, Logistics...

26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...