September retail sales up 3 percent from last year
Retail sales in September increased 0.4 percent over August on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 3 percent year-over-year unadjusted, according to calculations released by the National Retail Federation. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“Retail sales were somewhat softer than expected in September and some of the weakness can be attributed to Hurricane Florence and geopolitical trade concerns,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Recent solid wage gains and other fundamentals continue to propel spending, which has been supported by tax cuts, saving and access to credit. Today’s numbers confirm an underlying strength in the industry and a solid trajectory as we go into the fourth quarter.”
September sales were up 4.5 percent on a three-month moving average compared with the same period a year ago.
NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which released overall September sales — including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — were up 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August and 4.7 percent above September 2017.
The September numbers come as retail continues a long-term pattern of increased sales. Total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF — excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants — have increased year-over-year in all but one month since the beginning of 2010.
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.