August Retail Sales Grew 4.1 Percent

WASHINGTON – Retail sales were up 0.4 percent in August seasonally adjusted from July and up 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

The National Retail Federation reports that new 15 percent tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China took effect September 1 and are scheduled to be expanded to additional goods on December 15, covering a total of about $300 billion in imports. In addition, 25 percent tariffs already in effect on $250 billion worth of imports are set to increase to 30 percent on October 15.

As of August, the three-month moving average was up 4.1 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.5 percent in July. August’s results build on gains of 0.9 percent month-over-month and 5.5 percent year-over-year in July.

Specifics from key retail sectors during August include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 14.3 percent year-over-year and up 1.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 4.9 percent year-over-year but down 0.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were up 3.8 percent year-over-year and up 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 2.9 percent year-over-year and up 0.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 2.3 percent year-over-year but down 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were up 2.2 percent year-over-year but down 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.1 percent year-over-year and down 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were down 0.6 percent year-over-year but up 1.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 2.9 percent year-over-year and unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted.