Financials

September Retail Sales Rise Despite Supply Constraints

FinancialsOct 18, 2021

September Retail Sales Rise Despite Supply Constraints

U.S. retail sales rose 0.7 percent last month, even as retailers battle supply chain struggles.

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U.S. retail sales were up 0.7 percent month-over-month in September to $625.4 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
New York—U.S. retail sales surpassed expectations in September, rising in spite of supply chain constraints.
 
Sales were up 0.7 percent month-over-month in September to $625.4 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, while year-over-year sales were up nearly 14 percent.
 
The results exceeded analyst expectations of a decline of 0.2 percent.
 
August sales were stronger than previously thought, up 0.9 percent month-over-month, rather than the previous 0.7 percent, as per the revised figures.
 
“Today’s retail sales data confirms the sheer power of the consumer to spend, and we expect this to continue,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release about the results.
 
“Despite persistent challenges related to the global pandemic, supply chain and labor shortages, retailers and their partners have shown resilience and ingenuity in getting the workforce, goods and systems in place to serve their customers and the communities where they operate.”
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
The Delta variant remained a concern for consumers, said the NRF, and pushed their spending toward goods rather than services.
 
Consumer spending slowed toward the end of summer, said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, but retail sales didn’t shift away from goods to services as much as expected.
 
“That was a plus for retail because consumers still have a hyper-ability to spend thanks to wage and job gains and the household savings built up during the pandemic.”
 
This year’s back-to-school shopping season carried over from August into September as some school districts delayed the start of classes until after Labor Day.
 
“Overall, the September report is very promising for a strong finish for the year. Nonetheless, rising inflation and slower supply chains remain a concern. Spending might have been higher if not for shortages of items consumers are eager to purchase.”
 
The NRF also calculates retail sales, excluding auto sales, gas stations, and restaurants.
 
Its calculations also show September retail sales were up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from August, and up 11 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
 
For the first nine months of the year, sales were up 14.5 percent over the same period in 2020, as per the NRF’s calculations.
 
The results are in line with its revised forecast that 2021 retail sales should grow between 10.5 and 13.5 percent over 2020 to between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion.
 
September sales were up in all but two categories— electronics and appliance stores and health and personal care stores—on a monthly basis.
 
Year-over-year, sales were up across the board, led by increased sales at clothing, sporting goods, and general merchandise stores.

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