This week the Department of Commerce published September retail sales figures, and despite all the jabber about a solid back-to-school season, sales growth slowed considerably during the month.
Total retail sales rose by 4.3% to $444 billion, their most sluggish rate in seven months on a 12-month smoothed basis. Every major sector of retail saw a decline in sales growth compared to earlier in the year.
Automobiles, which if you’ll pardon the pun have been driving retail sales growth for the past four years, increased by 9.5%. Taking autos out of the mix, retail sales gained only 3%, and general merchandise sales rose by 2.7%.
Department and discount stores saw sales fall by almost one percent, while apparel specialty store sales rose by one percent on a 12-month smoothed basis. [Read more...]