Slipping in September
October 20, 2003,
Held in check by sluggish car sales, retail sales dipped by 0.2 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted level of $320.6 billion, giving up some of August's hefty 1.2 percent increase, the Commerce Department reported.
Taking a big bite out of the total retail sales figure, the highly volatile number for car sales, tumbled by 1.6 percent, to $76.7 billion from $77.9 billion in August, giving up all and more of an August increase of 0.9 percent.
Sales of home-related categories presented a mixed picture during the month, as sales in furniture and home furnishings stores slipped by 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted $8.5 billion; and sales in electronics and appliance stores declined at a slightly faster pace, by 0.3 percent, to a seasonally adjusted $8.1 billion. But helped by warm weather, sales in building material and garden supply outlets, like Home Depot and Lowe's, shot up by 1.9 percent, to a seasonal level of $27.9 billion, making that channel the month's biggest winner.
Another big winner was clothing and accessories retailers, up by 1.4 percent, to a seasonal $15.1 billion, their highest level in months, following a sluggish summer.
Consumers continued to favor the Internet and shun traditional retail outlets, prompted by low prices, often the absence of sales taxes, and free shipping offers. Sales in non-store retailers increased by 1.2 percent, to an adjusted $16.4 billion.
RETAIL SALES IN SEPTEMBER (by channel)
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
|Building material & garden supplies||+1.9%|
|Clothing & accessories||1.4|
|Health & personal care stores||+0.4|
|Food & beverage stores||+0.3|
|Sporting goods, hobby, books & music||-1.9%|
|Restaurants & bars||-1.4|
|Electronics & appliances||-0.3|
|Furniture & home furnishings stores||-0.2|