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US Retail Sales Get Unexpected Boost in August

Sep 19, 2021 7:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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US retail sales saw a surprising rise in August as consumer demand remained steady even amid financial downturns and supply-chain challenges, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

Revenue grew 0.7% versus the previous month and jumped 15% over the same period a year ago, according to data the US Census Bureau reported last week. That compares to a 1.8% month-on-month decline in July.

“Retail sales in August overcame unusual twists and turns that have affected shopping behavior both in terms of the timing and composition of sales,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The consumer remains rock solid despite the trifecta of macroeconomic headwinds we’ve seen this year, including tapering off of government stimulus, elevated Covid-19 infections and ongoing supply-chain challenges in the form of shortages of labor and goods.”

In August, sales increased year on year in all nine of the categories the US Census Bureau monitors. The clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — was up 37%. Revenues for the category also rose 0.1% compared to July. Online sales across all products rose 11% year on year and 5% from July.

For the first eight months of the year, sales from all sectors were up 15% relative to 2020, consistent with the NRF’s forecast that retail sales would grow 10.5% to 13.5% this year to between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion.

“We maintain our confidence in the historic strength of consumers and fully expect a record year for retail sales and a strong holiday season for retailers,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay.

Image: A woman shopping at a mall. (Shutterstock)
Tags: august, COVID-19, Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, US Census Bureau, US retail sales
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