Retail sales increase 1.7% in October | Economy

Retail sales rose 1.7% in October, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday, in what could be a first reading of the economy before Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season.

The number compares to a revised 0.8% gain in September and forecasts a gain of around 1.5% and comes amid growing consumer pessimism in the face of soaring inflation and persistent shortages of goods. .

Retail sales increased 1.9% for the month and 14.8% year over year, while gasoline sales were up 46.8% from a year ago , due to rising prices per gallon.

Retail sales are a key component of the country’s gross domestic product in an economy where consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds. After a decline in the third quarter, analysts expect the economy to shut down sharply as the delta variant of the coronavirus wears off.

Goldman Sachs recently updated its forecast, saying growth over the next few quarters would average 4% per year as the service sector continues to reopen, consumers ease pent-up demand, and businesses continue to replenish their supplies. stocks.

Political cartoons on the economy

However, the Wall Street firm warned that the economy “will face a significant and constant headwind due to declining budget support which we believe will ultimately leave GDP growth close to its potential by the end of it.” from 2022 ”.

A separate report from NPD, an observer of the retail industry, found that general merchandise revenue rose 19% in the first week of November, with consumers focusing on post-pandemic categories like fashion and beauty items.

Unit sales rose 4% over the same period, suggesting that the higher prices played a role in the higher sales figures.

“Consumers are clearly rushing to get a product before it’s gone, but that’s not the only source of the strength in holiday shopping this year,” said Marshal Cohen, chief advisor to the hospitality industry. retail for NPD, in a statement.

“With supply chain complications and inflation concerns for consumers, many – if not most – have used October as an extension of the holiday shopping season to get a head start before Halloween,” says Dave Cesaro, Retail and Consumer Behavior Expert at Marketing Data, company Vericast.

“Also, I hear from retailers that more and more shoppers are returning to stores,” adds Cesaro. “Retailers are using multiple media such as email, social media and a resurgence of flyers and print catalogs to encourage shoppers to buy early and save. “

Retailers have gotten ahead this year amid reports of shortages with stores releasing Christmas merchandise by Halloween. But even that may not have been early enough for some categories, while the notion of lining up at midnight for Black Friday might not play out like it has in previous years.

Angelica Gianchandani, practitioner-in-residence and brand marketing expert at New Haven University, explains that buyers may have to change their expectations of big-screen TVs and smartphones due to bottlenecks for retailers. experiences such as lift tickets, cooking classes and Comme.

“The whole concept of a Black Friday where you have the sprint to get there and camp doesn’t matter,” this year, she says.

Two major retailers reported strong third-quarter profits on Tuesday, with Home Depot seeing sales increase 9.8% during the period and Walmart posting 4% sales growth with total revenue of 140. $ 53 billion exceeding estimates of $ 153.6 billion.

In the United States, Walmart said comparable store sales rose 9.2%, excluding fuel, above expectations.

Comments are closed.