October Retail Sales Continue To Show Economic Uncertainty


With the holiday sales season fast approaching, October retail sales numbers reported by the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Department of Commerce provide a cloudy picture on the nation’s economic health.

According to the NRF, retail sales for October were flat seasonally adjusted from September and fell 1.3% year-over-year. NRF figures exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.

“Though the October numbers show some signs of optimism for retailers, the industry is still not out of the woods,” said Rosalind Wells, NRF Chief Economist. “While categories like apparel, sporting goods, books, music and personal care fared well, housing-related categories such as furniture and home improvement continued to struggle.”

October retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 1.4% seasonally adjusted from the previous month but decreased 1.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

Furniture and home furnishing stores were down 0.8% seasonally adjusted for the month-to-month and down 7.6% year-over-year.

NRF continues to forecast a holiday sales decline of 1.0 percent. The holiday season is defined as retail industry sales in November and December.