August Retail Sales Up 4.6% YoY

Retail sales were up 0.4 percent in August seasonally adjusted from July and up 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation said today. And in even better news, and flipping a recent downward trend, sporting goods stores were up 3.8 percent year-over-year and up 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted. Total retail numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“While consumer attitudes about the economy indicate some retreating optimism, the bottom line is that consumer spending remained resilient in August and continued to be a key contributor to U.S. economic growth,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Trends remain strong, but August grew somewhat slower than July, which could reflect consumers’ concerns about the unpredictability of trade policy. It is too early to assess the impact of the new tariffs that took effect at the beginning of this month, but they do present downside risks to household spending.”

New 15 percent tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China took effect September 1 and are scheduled to be expanded to additional goods on December 15, covering a total of about $300 billion in imports. In addition, 25 percent tariffs already in effect on $250 billion worth of imports are set to increase to 30 percent on October 15.

As of August, the three-month moving average was up 4.1 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.5 percent in July. August’s results build on gains of 0.9 percent month-over-month and 5.5 percent year-over-year in July.

Online and other non-store sales were up 14.3 percent year-over-year and up 1.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted. Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 2.3 percent year-over-year but down 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

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