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BTS/BTC boosts sales, especially for home good stores

Washington D.C. - Coming off a solid back-to-school shopping season, retailers posted positive sales results in August, based on the National Retail Federation's calculations, which showed the month's retail sales - excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants - were up 0.2% seasonally adjusted from July and 3.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

The news was also good for home furnishing and furniture stores, which collectively saw sales increase 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and a more significant 9.3% unadjusted year-over-year - the later representing the highest sales rate among a series of categories evaluated in August.

"The retail industry continues to demonstrate its strength and resiliency during this fragile economic time," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. "However, consumers and retail companies continue to face many questions and challenges, from stubbornly high unemployment and stagnant incomes to depressed housing prices and the looming fiscal cliff, all playing into overall economic uncertainty and declining consumer confidence."

August retail sales released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed total retail and food services sales - which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants - increased 0.9% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

By category, other findings from the August retail sales report include:

  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month but increased 7.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores' sales decreased 1.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores' sales decreased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month but increased 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores' sales increased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Nonstore retailers' sales were flat seasonally-adjusted month-to-month but increased 6.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores' sales were flat seasonally-adjusted month-to-month but increased 6.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF noted that beginning this month, the organization will now include "auto parts, accessories and tire stores" and "nonstore" retail sales figures in its economic analysis and calculations. This change - impacting all future NRF retail sales figures and forecasts, including the upcoming holiday forecast - "seeks to be more representative of the retail industry's diversity, and better reflect the growth and economic influence of e-commerce and mobile retail sales."

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