September Retail Sales Meet Estimates, Resume Climb

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U.S. consumer spending bounced back in September from a slight dip in August. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday that some retail businesses have posted solid year-over-year gains, led by nonstore retailers (e-commerce) up 10.6%. Overall sales growth rose slightly less than economists had forecast.

According to the Census Bureau, seasonally adjusted sales rose by 0.6% to $459.8 billion, compared with August 2016 sales of $456.98 billion, and rose 2.9% year-over-year compared with September 2015. Total sales for the three-month period of July through September 2016 were up 2.4% from a year ago.

Analysts were expecting an overall month-over-month increase of 0.6% and an increase of 0.5%, excluding autos and auto parts. Excluding motor vehicle and parts, sales month-over-month sales rose 0.5% and rose 2.7% year over year. The consensus estimates called for a month-over-month increase of 0.5%.

Gasoline station sales rose 2.4% month over month and are down 3.4% year over year, almost entirely due to lower gasoline prices.

Electronics stores posted a sales drop of 0.9% month over month, as well as a year-over-year decline of 3.8% in sales. Department stores posted a month-over-month sales decrease of 0.7% and a year-over-year decline of 6.4%.

Sales were stronger across a broad range of products. Automobile sales rose 1.1% in September compared with August and are up 2.6% compared with September 2015. Those figures reflect the September sales reports from the automakers that came out earlier this month.

Building materials and garden equipment and supplies sales rose 1.4% month over month and are up 5.6% year over year. Grocery store sales rose 0.2% compared with August sales and are up 1.7% year over year. Food and drink establishments posted a gain of 0.8% month over month and sales are up 6.1% year over year.