September Retail Sales Fizzle: 0.1% Gain vs. 0.6% Expected

Economists missed the mark badly on retail sales. They expected a 0.6% rise, not the feeble 0.1% reported.

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for September shows unexpected weakness.

  • Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September 2018, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $509.0 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent from the previous month, and 4.7 percent above September 2017.
  • Total sales for the July 2018 through September 2018 period were up 5.9 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • The July 2018 to August 2018 percent change was unrevised from up 0.1 percent..
  • Retail trade sales were up 0.4 percent from August 2018, and 4.4 percent above last year. Gasoline Stations were up 11.4 percent from September 2017, while Nonstore Retailers were also up 11.4 percent from last year.

Sales Numbers

  • Total: +0.1%
  • Total Excluding Motor Vehicles: -0.1%
  • Total Excluding Gasoline: +0.2%
  • Motor Vehicles and Parts: +0.8%
  • Gasoline: -0.8%
  • Nonstore Retailers: +1.1%
  • Furniture: +1.1%
  • Food and Drinking Places: -1.8%

This is an interesting mix, possibly influenced by Hurricane Florence. Looking ahead, Hurricane Michael may distort the picture.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (1)
No. 1-1
KidHorn
KidHorn

Hurricanes typically cause a big jump in consumer spending pre-hurricane, followed by a temporary lull that can last a few months, followed by increased spending due to rebuilding.