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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Gain As Auto and Restaurant Purchases Advance
by Tom Moeller  November 20, 2013

Retail sales improved last month as consumers bought cars and dined out. Retail spending firmed 0.4% (3.9% y/y) during October following no change in September, revised from a 0.1% dip. A 0.1% uptick had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of motor vehicles & parts led the rise with a 1.3% gain (10.6% y/y). Sales at food service & drinking places followed with a 1.0% increase (3.9% y/y). Retail sales excluding autos rose 0.2% (2.4% y/y) after a 0.3% September gain. A 0.1% uptick had been expected.

Furniture and electronics store sales rose 1.2% (6.2% y/y) on the heels of a 0.7% rise. Sales of electronics & appliance retailers jumped 1.4% (4.8% y/y) while furniture purchases rose 1.0% (7.7% y/y). Clothing store sales also gained 1.4% (3.8% y/y) after two months of decline while sales at general merchandise retailers inched up 0.2% (0.7% y/y). Sales of nonstore retailers gained 0.4% (8.2% y/y) but sales of building materials and garden equipment dropped 1.9% (+4.2% y/y), the third month of decline in the last four. Gasoline station sales fell 0.6% (-6.9% y/y) with lower prices and food & beverage retailers sales were unchanged (2.7% y/y).

The retail sales figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNAdatabase. 

Communication and Monetary Policy is the title of Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's speech and it can be found here.

Retail Spending (%) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Retail Sales & Food Services 0.4 0.0 0.2 3.9 5.3 7.5 5.5
  Excluding Autos 0.2 0.3 0.0 2.4 4.8 7.0 4.5
  Non-Auto Less Gasoline & Building Supplies 0.4 0.3 0.2 3.8 4.3 5.4 3.5
Retail Sales 0.3 -0.0 0.2 3.9 5.0 7.7 5.8
  Motor Vehicle & Parts 1.3 -1.2 1.0 10.6 7.5 10.1 10.6
 Retail Less Autos 0.1 0.3 -0.0 2.2 4.4 7.1 4.6
  Gasoline Stations -0.6 0.2 -0.5 -6.9 4.0 18.4 14.6
Food Service & Drinking Places Sales 1.0 0.2 0.2 3.9 7.2 6.0 3.2
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