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U.S. Jewelry Store Sales +4% to $2B

Consumers Losing Momentum Entering 4Q

Oct 15, 2014 11:33 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry store sales rose 3.7 percent year on year to $2.45 billion in August. As reported earlier on Rapaport News,  jewelry and watch sector sales from all retail channels, including jewelry stores and department stores, increased 4.9 percent  in August to $5.61 billion. Meanwhile, the consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry in August fell 4.7 percent, while the CPI for watches rose 4.5 percent.

Jewelry store sales have recorded revenue of $20.13 billion for the first eight months of the year, representing a year-on-year increase of 4.5 percent, according to government estimates.

By comparison, advanced estimates for U.S. department  store sales slipped 2.3 percent year on year to $12.28 billion in September. Department store sales for the first nine months of the year have dropped 2.5 percent to $114.2 billion.  Total  retail and  food services sales in September rose 4.3 percent to $442.7 billion. Retail trade sales improved 4 percent.   retail sales

Even though  retail sales improved on a year-over-year basis in September, Sterne Agee's chief economist, Lindsey Piegza, stated that sales fell more than expected when compared with August, representing the first month-to-month decline this year.

While Rapaport News estimates that jewelry sales improved by low single-digits again in September, other consumer segments that performed well during the month included electronic goods and personal care products. Weakness was observed in sales of automobiles, furniture, building materials, clothing, sporting goods and non-store retail sales, according to Sterne Agee.

Retail sales data did not impress Wall Street today, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average, the Standard &Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite down by more than 1 percent before the noon hour. Piegza wrote in a note to clients that coupled with a decline in the producer price index and a remarkable drop in the Empire Manufacturing Index this week,  the U.S. is nowhere near supporting  a strong economy just as the Federal Reserve is poised to raise rates.

"As we have written extensively, the U.S. consumer has been severely loosing momentum since the first quarter, a downward trend that was temporarily suspended with lower gas prices. Looking at this morning's retail sales report, however, against the backdrop of minimal income growth and still-lackluster job creation, that weakening trend appears to have been reignited even with energy price declines continuing," Piegza wrote.

The group  also warned that the so-called labor recovery is dominated by part-time employment, much of which is in the traditionally low-wage retail sector, which stymies consumer spending; and a stronger dollar has led to weakness in manufacturing and exports against softening  international demand for goods.

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Tags: department stores, economic news, Jeff Miller, jewelry stores, retail sales, september, sterne agee
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