Retail sales in October increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over September and were up 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said on Friday. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. October’s results make up for most of the 0.3 percent month-over-month decline seen in September and build on September’s year-over-year increase of 4.1 percent. As of October, the three-month moving average was up 4.3 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 4.7 percent in September. NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Total Retail's Take: The retail industry is remaining cautiously optimistic as, after a period of lull, retail sales rebounded in October. While gains were achieved across categories, including grocery and online stores, there were declines in other categories such as clothing, sporting goods, furniture and food services, to name a few.
For example, specifics from key retail sectors during October include:
- Online and other nonstore sales were up 14.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Grocery and beverage stores were up 4 percent year-over-year and up 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Electronics and appliance stores were down 3 percent year-over-year and down 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 1.7 percent year-over-year and down 1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
In general, the NRF is pleased with the results and optimistic for a successful holiday season.
“Despite the gradual slowdown in the U.S. economy, consumers are in a good place and October’s retail sales are a step forward into the all-important holiday season,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist, in a press release from the trade association. “Uncertainty around trade policy has impacted consumer sentiment recently, but ongoing job growth, low interest rates, low inflation and the stock market hitting record highs provide support for consumer spending.”