New National Retail Federation (NRF) research shows September retail sales were up 3.0% over last September and projections for 2018 holiday sales indicate 4.3% to 4.8% growth over last year.
NRF Chief Economist Jack and said, “Recent solid wage gains and other fundamentals continue to propel spending, which has been supported by tax cuts, saving and access to credit. Today’s numbers confirm an underlying strength in the industry and a solid trajectory as we go into the fourth quarter.”
Key retail sector sales were positive
The NRF data highlighted positive sales growth in most key sectors with online sales (+8.9%), electronics and appliance stores (+4.6%), general merchandise (+3.5%) and clothing and accessories (+3.1%) showing the strongest results:
- Online and other non-store sales were up 8.9% unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.1% seasonally adjusted from August.
- Electronics and appliance stores sales were up 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.9% seasonally adjusted from August.
- General merchandise stores sales were up 3.5% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from August.
- Clothing and accessories stores sales were up 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from August.
- Food and beverage stores sales were up 2.1% unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.2% seasonally adjusted from August.
- Health and personal care stores sales were up 1.8% unadjusted year-over-year and down 0.3% from August.
- Furniture and home furnishings stores sales were up 1.5% unadjusted year-over-year and up 1.1% seasonally adjusted from August.
Sales down slightly in sporting goods and building supplies
Sporting goods and building materials and supplies store sales were the only two sectors down for the same timeframe:
- Sporting goods stores sales were down 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
- Building materials and supplies stores sales were down 0.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and up 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August.
Holiday sales looking festive
Earlier in October, the NRF forecast 2018 holiday sales will grow between 4.3% and 4.8% over 2017.
This compares with an average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years and translates into sales estimated at between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
Total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF – excluding automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants— have increased year-over-year in all but one month since the beginning of 2010.
Chart courtesy NRF