BY LM Staff / www.logisticsmgmt.com / November 17th, 2020
Commerce reported that total October retail sales—at $553.3 billion—were up 0.3% over September and were up 5.7% annually. And NRF’s retail sales data, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, pointed to October retail sales being up 0.2% on a seasonally-adjusted basis compared to September, with a 10.6% unadjusted annual gain.
Retail sales data, for the month of October showed ongoing gains, according to data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Commerce reported that total October retail sales—at $553.3 billion—were up 0.3% over September and were up 5.7% annually. And it added that total retail sales, from August through October rose 5.1% compared to the same period in 2019. Both monthly annual and sequential retail sales have seen gains every month since June, which was preceded by major declines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commerce reported that retail trade sales saw a 0.3% gain, from September to October, and rose 8.5% annually. And non-store retail, which includes e-commerce, saw a 29.1% annual gain, buoyed by increased e-commerce activity over the course of the ongoing pandemic, with building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers seeing a 19.5% annual gain.
NRF officials observed that October retail sales were significantly better annually, with the economy recovering and holiday shopping starting earlier.
“October retail sales remained on track despite the pandemic continuing to affect households and businesses,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “The steady expansion of retail sales is good news against the background of these unusual economic circumstances and climbing virus cases in recent weeks. Early holiday shopping appears to have supported October’s increase in sales. The rise in COVID-19 cases continues to be a factor that weighs on consumer perceptions, sentiment and spending and there could be retrenchment if we cannot thwart this latest wave. Nonetheless, retailers are well prepared to safely fulfill holiday shopping lists, and the October results suggest so far, so good.”
NRF’s retail sales data, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, pointed to October retail sales being up 0.2% on a seasonally-adjusted basis compared to September, with a 10.6% unadjusted annual gain. And the organization said that based on its numbers retail sales were up 10% unadjusted annually on a three-month moving average.
And NRF added that online sales paced October retail sales activity, which saw annual and sequential gains, which it attributed to the shift of Amazon Prime Day, as well as related promotions from October to July.
NRF reported that seven of the nine retail categories it tracks saw annual October gains, including:
- Online and other non-store sales were up 3.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 26.3% unadjusted year-over-year;
- Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 3.3% unadjusted year-over-year;
- Building materials and garden supply stores were up 0.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 17% unadjusted year-over-year;
- Health and personal care stores were down 0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year;
- Grocery and beverage stores were down 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 11.6% unadjusted year-over-year;
- Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.4% percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year;
- General merchandise stores were down 1.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 4.8% unadjusted year-over-year;
- Sporting goods stores were down 4.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 14.1% unadjusted year-over-year; and
- Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 4.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 11.3% unadjusted year-over-year
“Overall, retail sales growth continues to be robust and shows that there is a good level of activity in the consumer economy,” said Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData, in a research note. “However, year-over-year growth rates have moderated somewhat over the prior quarter. This suggests that the curtailment of enhanced benefits and stimulus is beginning to take its toll and that the economy is not firing on all cylinders as it was earlier in the pandemic. This is especially so among lower income cohorts, which have seen the sharpest decline in spending over the past couple of months.”
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