US retail sales rose in September for the sixth straight month, but ongoing economic factors are causing consumers to slow their spending.
Retail sales advanced 0.7% to $704.9 billion in September — adjusted for seasonal variation — compared with August, according to data the US Census Bureau published Tuesday. That’s slightly below August’s 0.8% gain (revised upward from 0.6%). Sales increased 3.8% year on year.
Customers are becoming more selective in how they spend, noted National Retail Federation (NRF) CEO Matthew Shay.
“September retail sales show that consumers have retained the ability and willingness to spend despite accumulating economic headwinds from higher interest rates and slowing growth,” he said. “As we gear up for the holiday season, we expect moderate growth to continue as consumers focus on value and household priorities.”
A closer look at some of the categories the NRF monitors showed reduced spending, added Jack Kleinhenz, the federation’s chief economist.
“The consumer is still healthy, and today’s report shows households are forging ahead with plenty of buying power despite persistent inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical conflicts,” he said. “However, much of the rise was due to car sales, gasoline prices and food services. When you exclude those categories and look at core retail as measured by NRF, the pace of year-over-year growth is slowing.”
Main image: A couple shopping at a mall. (Shutterstock)