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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Retail Sales Decrease in September

by Calculated Risk on 10/14/2009 08:30:00 AM

On a monthly basis, retail sales decreased 1.5% from August to September (seasonally adjusted), and sales are off 5.7% from September 2008 (retail ex food services decreased 6.4%).

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales were up 0.5%.

Real Retail Sales Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows real retail sales (adjusted with PCE) since 1992. This is monthly retail sales, seasonally adjusted.

NOTE: The graph doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

This shows that retail sales fell off a cliff in late 2008, and appear to have bottomed, but at a much lower level.

Year-over-year change in Retail SalesThe second graph shows the year-over-year change in nominal and real retail sales since 1993.

To calculate the real change, the core PCI price index from the BLS was used (August prices were estimated as the average increase over the previous 3 months).

Real retail sales (ex food services) declined by 7.9% on a YoY basis.

Here is the Census Bureau report:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $344.7 billion, a decrease of 1.5 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month and 5.7 percent (±0.7%) below September 2008. Total sales for the July through September 2009 period were down 6.6 percent (±0.3%) from the same period a year ago. The July to August 2009 percent change was revised from +2.7 percent (±0.5%) to +2.2 percent (±0.2%).
The large decrease in retail sales was because of the end of Cash-for-clunkers in August. Excluding autos, retail sales increased in September, but are still far below year ago levels.