While government statistics today show a slight decrease in retail sales in September driven by the automobile sector, the National Retail Federation’s figures, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, indicate broad sales gains in most retail sectors.
According to the NRF, retail sales increased a healthy 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from last month, and 3.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Retailers witnessed a solid sales performance in September, with marked gains in all sectors, excluding clothing,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “The American consumer remains ever-cautious and value-driven but continues to spend.”
September retail sales, released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed that total retail and food services sales, which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, decreased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.2 percent adjusted year-over-year.
“Falling gas prices combined with rising housing and stock prices continue to support consumer spending and the broader economy,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “While far from robust, consumers are shopping, but they are spending both discriminately and moderately. Volatility still persists in various retail sectors but spending has somewhat stabilized heading into the all-important holiday shopping season.”