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United States Retail September 2021

United States: Retail sales growth eases in September

Retail sales increased 0.7% in month-on-month seasonally-adjusted terms in September, which was a deterioration from August’s 0.9% increase. September’s deterioration was primarily due to easing food and beverages and general merchandise stores sales. However, motor vehicle and parts dealers sales returned to growth. Lastly, non-store retailers sales lost steam, while gasoline stations sales expanded.

On an annual basis, retail sales rose 13.9% in September, which was below August’s 15.4% expansion and marked the worst result since February. Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth rose to 16.0% in September (August: +15.3%). This signals an improving trend in the retail trade sector.

Commenting on September’s print, Francis Généreux, a senior economist at Desjardins, stated:

“The auto industry’s struggles since the spring, coupled with a perceived slowdown in some other sectors, including furniture, electronics and non-store retailers, resulted in nominal retail sales suffering their first quarterly pullback since the spring of 2020, despite growth in August and September. This will obviously be reflected in the real consumption of goods (which will be hampered by rising prices as well). However, keep in mind that the spring data reflected a strong boost from government assistance to households. In addition, the service sector continues to recover.”

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