August Retail Sales Up 5 Percent Over 2017

August retail sales in the U.S. have increased 0.1 percent since July and 5 percent year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
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September 23, 2018

August Retail Sales Up 5 Percent Over 2017

According to the NRF, the new figures, which exclude sales related to automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, indicate strong momentum for the third quarter as consumers are still spending despite fears of a growing trade war.

“Consumers are still in the driver’s seat,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “Retail sales remain strong thanks to a solid labor market, accelerating wage growth and consumer optimism, which helps to power the consumer spending gains we are seeing. Clearly, household spending is resilient and a contributor to third-quarter GDP growth, however, uncertainty over tariffs is creating anxiety and could fuel material changes in consumer spending.”

The three-month moving average also saw gains of 4.9 percent compared to the same period last year. NRF’s numbers are based on U.S. Census Bureau data, which indicate that overall August sales, including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants, were down 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from July and increased 6.6

percent year-over-year.

Retail specifics from August include:

  • Online and other non-store sales (up 9.3 percent year-over-year; up 0.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

    • Health and personal care stores (up 5.4 percent year-over-year; up 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

      • Building materials and garden supply stores (up 2.6 percent year-over-year; unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

        • Clothing and clothing accessory stores (up 6.2 percent year-over-year; down 1.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

          • Electronics and appliance stores (up 4.1 percent year-over-year; up 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

            • Furniture and home furnishings stores (up 3.9 percent year-over-year; down 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

              • Food and beverage stores (up 4.9 percent year-over-year; unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

                • General merchandise stores (up 4.6 percent year-over-year; up 0.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

                  • Sporting goods stores (down 4.0 percent year-over-year; up 0.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)

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