Retail Sales Are Up In September
Retail sales are stronger then anticipated in September. It should be noted, however, that most of the increase was do to car and auto related sales and not sales at stores. Although I am sure this will be heralded as “no recession” in the financial press, a lack of consumer spending at the store is of some concern. Parts in bold are my emphasis. From the WSJ:
. . . . Retail sales increased by 0.6%, the Commerce Department said Friday. Sales went up an unrevised 0.3% in August. The 0.6% increase was higher than forecast; the median estimate of 22 economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires was a 0.3% advance. . . .
. . . . The first estimate of third-quarter GDP, which ended Sept. 30, is due for release Oct. 31. Analysts expect the data will show spending, buoyed by falling gasoline prices, picked up from its tepid second-quarter performance. Fourth-quarter spending, however, is another story, expected by analysts to soften due to dropping home prices, tighter credit, and a softer labor market.
If not for car sales, overall retail sales in September wouldn't have gone up so high. The Commerce report showed automobile and parts sales increased by 1.2% in September. August sales surged 3.3%. Sales of all other retailers excluding auto and parts dealers increased in September by 0.4%. Economists expected a 0.4% increase. Ex-auto sales in August had fallen an unrevised 0.4%.
September gasoline-station sales rose by 2%. Gas sales fell 2.6% in August. Stripping away sales at gas stations, demand at all other retailers increased 0.4% in September. Excluding gas and auto sectors, demand at other retailers last month increased by 0.2%.
Sales in September climbed by 0.9% at electronic stores; 1.0% at health and personal care stores, 1.1% at mail order and Internet retailers; and 0.8% at food and beverage stores.
Home-improvement store sales were listless. Sales at building material and garden supplies dealers inched 0.1% higher. Furniture store sales dropped, down 0.6%. Sales fell 0.7% at sporting goods, hobby and book stores; 0.1% at general merchandise stores; and 0.4% at clothing stores. Demand was flat at eating and drinking places.