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October 17, 2022
NRF: Core Retail Sales Continued Growing in September
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Retail sales remained strong with another year-over-year gain in September despite an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve and ongoing inflation, the National Retail Federation stated, with core sales better versus August.

 

\The United States Census Bureau reported that overall retail sales in September remained unchanged from August but were up 8.2% year over year. In August, retail sales advanced 0.4% month over month and 9.4% year over year. On a three-month moving average, sales gained 9.2% year over year.

In contrast, NRF calculation of retail sales, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail, had September 0.3% from August and 7.2% unadjusted year over year. In August, sales were also up 0.3% month over month versus July and 8.5% year over year. NRF’s calculation was up 7.6% unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of September. Sales gained 7.2% year over year for the first nine months of the year, keeping results on track with NRF’s forecast that 2022 retail sales would advance between 6% and 8% over those in 2021.

By channel, September sales results came in as:

  • General merchandise stores are up 0.7% month over month seasonally adjusted and 4.8% unadjusted year over year
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores are down 0.7% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 1.5% unadjusted year over year
  • Electronics and appliance stores are down 0.8% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 8.9% unadjusted year over year
  • Health and personal care stores are up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and 4.6% unadjusted year over year
  • Building materials and garden supply stores are down 0.4% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 9.2% unadjusted year over year
  • Grocery and beverage stores are up 0.4% month over month seasonally adjusted and 6.7% unadjusted year over year
  • Online and other non-store up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and 11.5% unadjusted year over year
  • Sporting goods stores are down 0.7% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 4.8% unadjusted year over year
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores are up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and 4.5% unadjusted year over year.

“September retail sales confirm that even with rising interest rates, persistent inflation, political uncertainty and volatile global markets, consumers are spending for household priorities,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in announcing the numbers. “As we enter the holiday season, shoppers are increasingly seeking deals and discounts to make their dollars stretch, and retailers are already meeting this demand. However, the Biden administration must enact policy measures to relieve inflationary pressure and lower costs for American families. While the Federal Reserve tackles long-term actions meant to end inflation, we believe removing China tariffs, enacting smart immigration reform to address the worker shortage, and increasing investments in supply chain resiliency can and will have an immediate impact on consumers and the economy.”

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz added, “Consumer demand remained intact during September and continues to be a key contributor to economic activity. But sales were uneven across retail categories and inflation is the main factor that is determining how much shoppers are willing to spend. Households are tapping into savings, accessing credit and reducing their savings contributions as they meet higher prices head-on. Shoppers are looking for bargains and value in the current economic environment and even more so as we head into the holiday season.”

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