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NRF: August Retail Sales Gained As Consumers Stay Positive

Despite some macro economic concerns among consumers and inclement weather in the U.S., retail sales gained in August, according to the National Retail Federation.

NRF, citing United States Census Bureau research, noted that retail sales increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted over July and 5% year-over-year as the economy continued to grow despite concerns about an expanding trade war. The retail results exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. The August results built on July gains, when retail sales advanced 0.4% monthly from June and 4.9% year-over-year.

Online and other non-store sales increased 9.3% year-over-year and 0.7% over July seasonally adjusted, NRF noted.

According to the Census Bureau, furniture and home furnishings store sales increased 3.9% year-over-year but slipped 0.3% from July seasonally adjusted. Health and personal care stores sales advanced 5.4% year-over-year and 0.5% from July seasonally adjusted. General merchandise store sales gained 4.6% year-over-year and 0.1% from the previous July seasonally adjusted. Electronics and appliance store sales increased 4.1% year-over-year and 0.4% from the year-before July seasonally adjusted.

“Consumers are still in the driver’s seat,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “Retail sales remain strong thanks to a solid labor market, accelerating wage growth and consumer optimism, which helps to power the consumer spending gains we are seeing. Clearly, household spending is resilient and a contributor to third-quarter GDP growth, however, uncertainty over tariffs is creating anxiety and could fuel material changes in consumer spending.”