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United States Retail September 2023

United States: Retail sales growth remains robust in September

Retail sales increased 0.7% month-on-month in seasonally-adjusted terms in September (August: +0.8% mom), more than double market expectations. The slight slowdown from August was due to a sharp moderation in gasoline station sales, amid the pullback in gasoline prices. In contrast, motor vehicle and parts dealers, food and beverages, and non-store retailers sales rose at a stronger rate.

On an annual basis, retail sales rose at a quicker rate of 3.8% in September (August: +2.9% yoy), the best result since February. Meanwhile, the trend pointed down, with the annual average growth of retail sales coming in at 4.1% in September, down from August’s 4.5% reading.

Retail sales growth averaged 0.7% month on month over Q3 as a whole, pointing to a very strong private consumption outturn in the period.

On the outlook for consumer spending, TD Economics’ Shernette McLeod said: “The strong posting in Q3 retail spending is probably the last hurrah for consumers as growing pressures are likely to constrain spending in Q4. Falling but still above target inflation, tightening credit, resumption of student loan payments and even heightened economic uncertainty due to geopolitical tensions are all likely to weigh on consumers in the months ahead. As such, spending is expected to decelerate for the remainder of the year.”

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