Washington — Retail sales, excluding motor vehicles and parts, rose 0.4 percent compared with the month prior and 3.2 percent year on year, totaling $346 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
During September, food and beverage store sales gained 0.9 percent compared with the previous month, reaching $54 billion, while grocery gained one percent month-to-month, totaling $48 billion. Grocery had a year-on-year gain of 2.8 percent and overall food and beverage store sales grew 3.4 percent compared with the same period the year prior.
Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation (NRF) president and CEO, says: “The American consumer remains ever-cautious and value-driven but continues to spend. Only time will tell if and when the government shutdown and debt ceiling debacle will impact retailers and consumers this fall and winter.”
This cautious consumer outlook is resulting in conservative sales gain estimates for the winter holidays, according to NRF. The federation expects the average shopper to spend two percent less this year compared with 2012, based on a consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. In addition, consumers are anticipated to spend $100.35 on candy holiday this year, a decrease of 41 cents compared with the year prior.
However, the NRF’s economic forecast is anticipating overall retail sales to increase 3.9 percent, totaling some $602 billion.
The federation explains that its forecast is based on economic indicators such as housing data, unemployment and previous monthly retail reports, while the holiday consumer survey is only a snapshot of what consumers believe they will spend. The NRF notes that what consumers say they might spend isn't always what retailers experience at registers.