United States: Retail sales post solid growth in October despite election uncertainty
November 15, 2016
Uncertainty regarding the U.S. presidential election did not stop Americans from consuming, as nominal retail sales increased 0.8% over the previous month in October. The result followed the upwardly revised 1.0% expansion in September (previously reported: +0.6% month-on-month) and overshot the 0.5% increase the markets had expected.
The report from the Department of Commerce showed that the expansion in October reflected higher sales across most categories. Sales at electronic and appliance stores and of food and beverages improved over the previous month. Meanwhile, the core—or control group—retail sales, which excludes cars, gasoline and building materials, rose 0.6% in October, which came in slightly above the revised 0.5% rise recorded in the previous month (previously reported: +0.3% mom).
Compared to the same month last year, retail sales accelerated from 3.2% in September to 4.3% in October, which marked the fastest pace in nearly two years. On an annual basis, sales at department stores continued to decline in October, whereas sales at non-store retailers—a proxy for e-commerce sales—showed another month of strong growth. This suggests that American consumers are increasingly opting to make purchases online.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist