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Washington, September 14, 2011 – August retail sales showed strong year-over-year growth but modest month-to-month gains, signaling a slight resistance from consumers who may be exhibiting signs of spending fatigue.
According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) in August increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted over July and 6.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Consumer spending in August was tempered by a continued lack of confidence in the strength of our economy,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Having carried the brunt of the economic recovery so far, consumers may be waiting for good news in terms of employment and market stability, cautiously spending on things they need and thinking twice about things they want.”
“August retail sales mirror August employment figures – zero growth,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Consumer spending has stalled, and it will be important for consumers to see positive changes in the economic outlook going into the fourth quarter. While we’re not expecting a complete pull back in spending, the outlook remains modest in terms of growth.”
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 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and a solid 9.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Specific sales results include:
Wrapping up their back-to-school shopping, consumers stocked up electronics and books. Sales at electronic and appliance stores increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.5 percent unadjusted from last year.
Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 2.4 percent seasonally adjusted over July and 9.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Health and personal care stores sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over July and 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Building material and garden equipment and supplies stores sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and 9.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF’s global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents an industry that includes more than 3.6 million establishments and which directly and indirectly accounts for 42 million jobs – one in four U.S. jobs. The total U.S. GDP impact of retail is $2.5 trillion annually, and retail is a daily barometer of the health of the nation’s economy. www.nrf.com.