October retail sales see gains

Commerce reported that October retail sales, at $511.5 billion, were up 0.8% compared to September, with a 4.6% increase compared to October 2017. Retail trade sales were up 0.9% compared to September and up 4.3% annually, and non-store retailers, which include e-commerce sales, rose 12.1%. NRF reported that October retail sales increased 0.4% compared to September, with a 5.6% annual increase on an unadjusted basis.

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October retail sales saw mild sequential gains and larger annual gains, according to data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Commerce reported that October retail sales, at $511.5 billion, were up 0.8% compared to September, with a 4.6% increase compared to October 2017. Retail trade sales were up 0.9% compared to September and up 4.3% annually, and non-store retailers, which include e-commerce sales, rose 12.1%.   

Total retail sales from August through October saw a 5% annual increase, with the August to September gain revised from a 0.1% increase to a 0.1% decrease.

NRF reported that October retail sales increased 0.4% compared to September, with a 5.6% annual increase on an unadjusted basis. NRF’s retail sales numbers do not include automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants. And the NRF also noted that October sales were up 4.3% on a three-month moving average compared to the same period a year ago.

“Today’s pickup in retail sales shows a healthy pace of spending and a sign of ongoing consumer strength which is consistent with the state of the US economy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The figures bolster expectations for the major shopping period of the year, the holidays. Thanks to a high level of consumer confidence surrounding the current and future economy, we expect spending to maintain its strong momentum. The pickup in October was also due in part to delayed spending associated with the hurricanes in early fall.”

NRF reported annual gains in the following categories:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 13.9% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from September;
  • Building materials and supplies stores sales were up 6.5% unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.0% seasonally adjusted from September;
  • Clothing and accessories stores sales were up 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from September;
  • Food and beverage stores sales were up 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from September;   
  • Health and personal care stores sales were up 3.6% unadjusted year-over-year and unchanged from September;
  • General merchandise stores sales were up 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from September;
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores sales were up 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year and down 0.3% seasonally adjusted from September;
  • Electronics and appliance stores sales were up 2.4% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.7% seasonally adjusted from September; and
  • Sporting goods stores sales were down 7% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from September

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