U.S. Retail Sales Slide in August, Still Up on 2016

NORTH AMERICA–Retail sales in August were down 0.2 percent from July on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the National Retail Federation.

April 6, 2018

U.S. Retail Sales Slide in August, Still Up on 2016

Year-over-year growth on a three-month moving average was also up 3.4 percent.


However, on a year-over-year basis, August sales increased 3.7 percent unadjusted. The numbers exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.

“Retail sales for August were truly a mixed bag, with monthly gains in July reversed in August,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “The bottom line is that consumer spending is uneven but remains resilient and they key contributor to U.S. economic growth.”

In addition year-over-year growth in August was up 3.4 percent on a three-month moving average. Highlights for the month include:

  • Online and other non-store sales decreased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted from July but increased 8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

    • Clothing and accessories stores decreased 1 percent from July but increased 1.5 percent year-over-year.

      • General merchandise stores increased 0.2 percent over July and were up 3.1 percent year-over-year.

        • Electronics and appliances stores were down 0.7 percent from July and down 3.3 percent year-over-year.

          • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.4 percent over July and increased 5.9 percent year-over-year.

            • Building materials and supplies stores decreased 0.5 percent from July but increased 8.2 percent year-over-year.

              • Sporting goods stores decreased 0.1 percent from July and decreased 1.7 percent year-over-year.

                • Health and personal care stores increased 0.1 percent over July and increased 0.3 percent year-over-year.

                  “While it is too early to assess the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have had on the economy and retail sales, there’s no doubt that they will impact consumer spending–particularly in certain sectors–as Florida and Texas work to rebuild.”

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