Sales at US clothing stores have once again helped lift total retail sales during September, with growth rising after a brief slowdown last month.
September retail sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted over August and 3% year-over-year as solid wage gains continued to propel spending despite Hurricane Florence and geopolitical trade concerns, according to figures from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
The September numbers, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, include an 8.9% rise year-over-year in online and other non-store sales, which were up 1.1% on August seasonally adjusted.
The numbers are based on data from the US Census Bureau, which said overall September sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.1% seasonally adjusted from August and 4.7% year-over-year.
Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores increased 3.1% year-over-year and by 0.5% from August seasonally adjusted, while sales at sporting goods stores tumbled 6.3% year-over-year but were up 0.7% seasonally adjusted from August.
The September results build on an improvement seen in August – which was up 0.1% monthly and 5% year-over-year. September sales were up 4.5% on a three-month moving average compared with the same period a year ago.
“Retail sales were somewhat softer than expected in September and some of the weakness can be attributed to Hurricane Florence and geopolitical trade concerns,” says NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Recent solid wage gains and other fundamentals continue to propel spending, which has been supported by tax cuts, saving and access to credit. Today’s numbers confirm an underlying strength in the industry and a solid trajectory as we go into the fourth quarter.”
The September numbers come as retail continues a long-term pattern of increased sales. Total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF – excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants— have increased year-over-year in all but one month since the beginning of 2010.