October Retail Sales Grew 4.2 Percent YoY

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 said today. 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.

“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,” NRF chief rconomist Jack Kleinhenz said. “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.”

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Kleinhenz said October’s year-over-year growth was particularly impressive because it compares with October 2018 sales that were up an unusually strong 5.8 percent over the same month in 2017.

Sales at sporting goods stores were up 0.4 percent year-over-year but down 0.8 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted. Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall October sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from September and up 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.