The National Retailers Federation says consumer spending in September was up a modest 0.4% over August, but beat September 2011 by a more impressive 2.1%, adding that the numbers bode well for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
“In spite of the uncertainty and unease surrounding our nation’s high unemployment and long-term fiscal challenges, consumers continue to spend and shop,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Robust back-to-school spending combined with a series of new, technology-led product launches certainly helped retailers in September. The American consumer is holding their own in this economic environment but the question remains, for how long?”
Looked at another way (cars, gasoline and restaurants included), as done by the US Department of Commerce, and sales were up 1.1% over August and 5.4% over September 2011, according to NRF.
“With recent data painting a more optimistic view of consumer confidence, we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While the latest retail sales data indicates continued improvement for the economy, increasing gas prices and the looming fiscal cliff still pose serious challenges to the momentum we’ve seen in consumer spending.”
NRF provided the following category snapshots:
* Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increase 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 3.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 4.5 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month but decreased 1.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 2.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 1.8 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 8.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.8 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Source: National Retailers Federation