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NRF: Strong September sales bode well for holiday

Retail Editor 3 -- Home Textiles Today, October 15, 2012

Washington -- Propelled by solid sales in clothing and electronics stores as well as in furniture and home furnishings, September's retail sales growth is paving the way for what is expected to be a strong holiday season.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently found that September retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from August, and 2.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

For furniture and home furnishing stores, results were also noteworthy, as sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

"In spite of the uncertainty and unease surrounding our nation's high unemployment and long-term fiscal challenges, consumers continue to spend and shop," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. "Robust back-to-school spending combined with a series of new, technology-led product launches certainly helped retailers in September. The American consumer is holding their own in this economic environment, but the question remains, for how long?"

September 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 1.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

"With recent data painting a more optimistic view of consumer confidence, we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. "While the latest retail sales data indicates continued improvement for the economy, increasing gas prices and the looming fiscal cliff still pose serious challenges to the momentum we've seen in consumer spending."

Congruent with NRF's revised definition of retail sales to include "auto parts, accessories and tire stores" and "nonstore" sales, NRF is now projecting year-over-year retail sales growth of 4.5%. The revised definition 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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