U.S. retail sales jump in September on strong demand for autos

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 13, 2017

Excluding the jump in auto sales, retail sales still shot up by 1.0 percent in September after climbing by 0.5 percent in August.

In seasonally adjusted terms, total sales volumes jumped by 1.6% month-on-month in September to reach $483.9bn, according to the Department of Commerce.

U.S. retail sales soared in September led by a surge in those for motor vehicles and parts.

Most of the gains last month were likely fueled by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which slammed into Texas, Florida and other southeastern states in late August and September. Ex-auto sales had been expected to rise by 0.3 percent.

Sales at home and garden supply stores rose 2.1 percent, probably lifted by hurricane preparation, as well as repairs and renovations in the aftermath of the storms.

Economists had expected retail sales to spike by 1.7 percent compared to the 0.2 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

With the monthly increase, the Commerce Department said total retail sales in September were up by 4.4 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

Three retail subcategories repeated as the only sectors posting year-over-year sales declines: department stores, a subset of general merchandise stores; electronics and appliance stores; and sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

US economic growth likely slowed in the July-September quarter as the hurricanes shut down thousands of businesses, employees were forced to miss work, and power was cut to millions of homes.

The economy grew at a 3.1 percent annualized rate in the April-June period.

Yet the economy is expected to rebound in the final three months of the year as rebuilding and fix work accelerates.

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