U.S. jewelry store sales in September rose 1.5 percent year on year to almost $2.2 billion. However, the consumer price inflation (CPI) for jewelry resumed its climb during the month as well, advancing by 2.1 percent year on year. So far, for the first three quarters of 2012, U.S. jewelry store sales have risen 3.6 percent to $19.7 billion as price inflation steadied at 2 percent.
Turning to the broader retail environment, department store sales in September fell 1.5 percent year on year to $13.5 billion and advanced estimates for October found that department store sales fell 2.7 percent to $14 billion.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) concluded that consumers ''cooled discretionary spending'' during the month of October.
“While Hurricane Sandy certainly impacted consumer spending in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states, the larger threat to the overall economy is the impending fiscal cliff, which impacts Americans across the country," said NRF's president, Matthew Shay. “The automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year may have more of an impact on business confidence and consumer spending than any other issue. It’s imperative that policymakers address the looming fiscal cliff now to give consumers some certainty heading into the holiday shopping season.”
The NRF observed that clothing and clothing accessories along with electronics and appliance stores' sales increased 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year in October, while furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales jumped 7.3 percent. General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 1.1 percent.