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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Decline With Fewer Vehicle Purchases
by Tom Moeller  November 14, 2012

Total retail sales fell 0.3% last month following an upwardly revised 1.3% September rise, initially reported as 1.1%. A 0.1% downtick in October sales was expected according to Action Economics. Excluding autos, retail sales also slipped marginally following an upwardly revised 1.2% September jump. A 0.3% rise was expected.

A sharp 1.9% (+0.7% y/y) drop in building materials sales led last month's weakness after three months of strong increase. Lower sales of motor vehicles followed with a 1.5% (+5.0% y/y) drop. That reversed September's 1.7% rise and accompanied the earlier report of a 4.4% drop in unit sales. Offsetting these declines was a 1.4% (7.7% y/y) gain in sales at gasoline service stations. Less autos and gasoline retail sales fell 0.3% (+2.7% y/y).

Sales of home furnishings, appliances and electronics also were weak and posted a 0.8% (-0.5% y/y) decline. Appliance and electronics purchases backpedaled 1.0% (-5.6% y/y) while furniture store sales fell 0.6% (+5.3% y/y). Sales of apparel & accessory stores slipped 0.1% (+5.5% y/y) following gains during the prior five months. Sales of general merchandise ticked 0.2% (0.0% y/y) higher after three months of modest increase. Food & beverages store sales rose 0.8% (3.9% y/y) while sales of nonstore retailers fell 1.8% (+7.2% y/y).

The retail sales figure are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNA database. 

 

Retail Spending(%) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Retail Sales & Food Services -0.3 1.3 1.0 3.8 8.0 5.5 -7.1
  Excluding Autos -0.0 1.2 0.8 3.6 7.4 4.5 -5.7
Retail Sales -0.3 1.3 1.1 3.8 8.3 5.8 -7.9
  Motor Vehicle & Parts -1.5 1.7 1.8 5.0 10.9 10.8 -13.9
 Retail excluding Autos 0.0 1.2 1.0 3.5 7.6 4.7 -6.4
  Gasoline Stations 1.4 2.5 6.0 7.7 17.9 14.7 -22.0
 Non-Auto Less Gasoline -0.3 1.0 0.1 2.7 5.9 3.2 -3.4
Food Service  -0.4 0.8 0.0 4.2 5.9 3.2 -0.9
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