United States: Retail sales improve in September
October 14, 2016
In September, nominal retail sales expanded 0.6% over the previous month. The reading contrasted the upwardly-revised 0.2% expansion recorded in August (previously reported: -0.3% month-on-month) and met market expectations.
The report from the Department of Commerce showed that the expansion in September was due to higher sales across most categories. Sales at gasoline stations as well as sales of motor vehicles and parts dealers improved from the previous month. Meanwhile, the closely-watched core—or control group—retail sales, which excludes cars, gasoline and building materials, increased 0.3% in September, which was above August’s flat figure.
On an annual basis, growth in retail sales accelerated from 2.1% in August to 2.7% in September. Sales at department stores continued to decline in September (-6.4% year-on-year). On the other hand, sales at non-store retailers—a proxy for e-commerce sales—showed strong growth (+10.6% yoy). This suggests that American consumers are increasingly opting to make purchases online.
Author: Dirina Mançellari, Senior Economist