US Retail Sales Post Strong Across-the-Board Gains in September

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There were $483.9 billion in retail and food service sales in September, up 1.6% from the previous month and 4.4% from September 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Gas sales climbed 5.8 percent, the most in four and a half years, likely reflecting price spikes after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Auto sales totaled $91.19 billion last month on an unadjusted basis, down from $97.14 billion in August and up from $87.28 billion in September 2016. As a standalone category, auto sales were up 3.6 percent for the month and 4 percent for the year.

Retail trade sales rose 1.7% month over month and 4.7% year over year. Month over month, nonstore retail sales rose by 0.5%. Gasoline Stations were up 11.4% (±1.4%) from September2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 10.7% (±2.1%) from past year. The July 2017 to August 2017 percent change was revised from down 0.2percent (±0.5 percent)* to down 0.1% (±0.1%)*. The largest year-over-year gains came from gas stations (up 11.4%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies stores (up 10.7%). Non-store (internet) continued to eat the lunch of certain of those losing categories (especially electronics), with sales up 0.5 percent for the month and 9.2 percent for the year.

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Sales at miscellaneous store retailers fell 0.6% month over month but gained 0.1% year over year.