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United States Retail October 2023

United States: Retail sales fall but beat market expectations in October

Retail sales dropped 0.1% in month-on-month seasonally adjusted terms in October, which contrasted September’s 0.9% increase. October’s figure marked the worst reading since March, but beat market expectations of a 0.3% decline. The result was largely due to contractions in sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and furniture stores. In addition, gasoline station sales fell amid lower gas prices.

On an annual basis, retail sales increased 2.5% in October, which was below September’s 4.1% expansion. Accordingly, annual average retail sales growth fell to 3.6% in October (September: +4.1%). This signals a worsening trend in the retail trade sector.

The retail sales data chimes with our forecasts for a slowdown in private consumption in Q4 following bumper growth in Q3.

On the reading and outlook, TD Economics’ Shernette McLeod said:

“The pullback in retail spending in October did not come as a surprise as market participants have been forecasting a retrenchment in sales for some time. While part of the decline in the headline number reflected lower prices for gasoline, sales in the key control group also lost momentum, though still maintaining its seven month growth streak. Today’s numbers kick off the fourth quarter on a softer note, with real consumption expenditure currently tracking around 1.8% for Q4.”

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