Retail Sales Post First Monthly Increase in Six Months Despite “Clunkers” Stealing Thunder

Back-to-School, Sales Tax Holidays Boost Spending in August
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Washington, September 15, 2009 – In spite of the “Cash for Clunkers” program taking money away from traditional retail, companies still managed month-to-month gains in August, leaving the industry to wonder how strong the back-to-school season could have been without the timing of the program. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) saw their first gain in six months, with sales rising 0.7 percent from July, though dipping 4.3 percent year-over-year

“Many Americans who traded in their vehicles have become saddled with monthly car payments, which reduces the amount of money they’re able to spend in other areas,” said Rosalind Wells. “As a result, it remains to be seen how the “Cash for Clunkers” program will impact traditional retail sales.”



August retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased a solid 2.7 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month but declined 5.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.



Sales tax holidays throughout the country, which fell a bit later this year than last, helped boost August retail sales on traditional school merchandise such as apparel and electronics. Sales at electronics and appliance stores increased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted over July and decreased 10.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales increased 2.4 percent adjusted from the previous month and decreased 5.9 percent unadjusted from last year.



“Shoppers were a bit more comfortable digging into their wallets last month, and retailers are hopeful that we’ve turned a corner,” said Rosalind Wells, Chief Economist of NRF. “It is encouraging to see some momentum building as retailers anticipate the all-important holiday season.”



Health and personal care store sales also saw solid increases with sales increasing 0.4 seasonally adjusted from last month and 2.7 percent unadjusted over last August. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales increased 2.3 percent adjusted over last month and decreased 1.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.



The National Retail Federation <http://www.nrf.com/> is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com.



###

Related

July Retail Sales Stronger Than Expected, According to NRF

Washington, August 13, 2007 – Driven by back-to-school spending on electronics, apparel and other necessities, July retail sales rebounded from a slow start to the summer. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for July (which exclude automobiles, ...read more

Retailers Report Weak August as Sales Increase Just 1.1 Percent Over Last Year

Washington – Retailers' summer started off with a bang but ended with a whimper. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for August (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and ...read more

March Retail Sales Disappoint as Retailers Wrap up First Quarter, According to NRF

Washington – Several months of stronger-than-expected retail sales provided hope that the industry was poised to bounce back, but March retail sales demonstrate that the industry is continuing to struggle. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for ...read more

March Retail Sales Stronger Than Anticipated, According to NRF

Washington – Surging past expectations, retail sales continued to show signs of improvement as consumers hit the stores for seasonal home goods, furniture and apparel. According to the National Retail Federation, March retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas ...read more

January Retail Sales Continue Slow Road to Recovery, According to NRF

Washington, February 12, 2010 – Post holiday sales and gift cards helped consumers open up their wallets to take advantage of special deals on popular apparel, electronics and sporting goods items. According to the National Retail Federation, January retail industry sales (which ...read more

Late Black Friday, Shorter Holiday Season Impact November Retail Sales, According to NRF

Washington – While shoppers were out and about Black Friday weekend, they kept their pennies to themselves the rest of the month with November retail sales showing continued consumer restraint. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for November ...read more

NRF Asks Obama for National Sales Tax Holidays to Aid Consumers as Part of Economic Stimulus

Washington – The National Retail Federation today asked President-elect Barack Obama to incorporate a series of national sales tax holidays into upcoming economic stimulus legislation as an important step toward rebuilding consumer confidence, saying short-term gains from ...read more

Retail Container Traffic to be Up 25 Percent in First Half of 2010

WASHINGTON, February 8, 2010 – Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports will be a full 25 percent higher during the first half of 2010 compared with the same period a year ago, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the ...read more

Retail Container Traffic to Fall 11.8 Percent in First Half of 2009

WASHINGTON – After ending 2008 down 7.9 percent, cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to drop at an even faster pace during the first half of 2009 as the economic recession continues, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released today by ...read more