a woman in a blue dress
Advertisement
09/17/2021

Retail Sales Rebound in August

U.S. retail sales had a surprise rebound in August, despite concerns over supply chain disruptions and the Delta variant.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
Jamie Grill-Goodman profile picture

China Retail Sales

China’s retail sales grew a disappointing 2.5% in August from a year ago as the country dealt with the worst outbreak of Covid-19 since its initial spread in early 2020, reported CNBC. The data from the National Bureau of Statistics was below the 7% growth forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.

U.S. retail sales had a surprise rebound in August, despite concerns over supply chain disruptions and the Delta variant.

Retail sales rose 0.7% last month from the previous month, up 15.1% above August 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. July sales were revised down to show retail sales declining 1.8% instead of 1.1% as previously reported.

[See also: Retail Recovery Continues in June]

“Retail sales in August overcame unusual twists and turns that have affected shopping behavior both in terms of the timing and composition of sales,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “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. Higher sales came even with a disjointed back-to-school season that also affected the timing of sales as many school districts returned to in-person learning, but some delayed classes until after Labor Day. These results pave the way for sturdy consumer spending and a strong economy in the fourth quarter.”

[Read more: 2021 Holiday Retail Forecasts and Predictions]

NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed August was up 2.3% seasonally adjusted from July and up 12% unadjusted year-over-year. That compared with a month-over-month decrease of 1.8% and a year-over-year increase of 8.9 % in July.

Retail trade sales in August were up 0.8% from July 2021, and up 13.1% above last year, the Census Bureau said. Clothing and clothing accessories stores saw a boost, up 38.8% from August 2020. NRF reported August sales were up in all but two categories and up across the board year-over-year, led by increases at clothing, sporting goods and electronics stores. 

    August sales specifics from key retail sectors, according to NRF:
    • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 36.6 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Sporting goods stores were down 2.7 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 20.3 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Electronics and appliance stores were down 3.1 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 18 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 3.7 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 16.1 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • General merchandise stores were up 3.5 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 13.6 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Health and personal care stores were up 0.2 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 10.6 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Online and other non-store sales were up 5.3 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 10.6 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 0.9 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 8.8 % unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Grocery and beverage stores were up 1.8 % month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 4.8 % unadjusted year-over-year.